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The term Rajasthani is also used to refer to a literary language mostly based on Marwari,: 441 which is being promoted as a standard language for the state of Rajasthan.
Rajasthani has a literary tradition going back approximately 1500 years. The Vasantgadh Inscription from modern day Sirohi that has been dated to the 7th century AD uses the term Rajasthaniaditya in reference to the official or maybe for a poet or a bhat who wrote in Rajasthani. The ancient astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta of Bhinmal composed the Brāhmasphuṭasiddhānta. In 779 AD, Udhyotan Suri wrote the Kuvalaya Mala partly in Prakrit and partly in Apabhraṃśa. Texts of this era display characteristic Gujarati features such as direct/oblique noun forms, post-positions, and auxiliary verbs. It had three genders as Gujarati does today. During the medieval period, the literary language split into Medieval Marwari and Gujarati.
By around 1300 AD a fairly standardised form of this language emerged. While generally known as Old Gujarati, some scholars prefer the name of Old Western Rajasthani, based on the argument that Gujarati and Rajasthani were not distinct at the time. Also factoring into this preference was the belief that modern Rajasthani sporadically expressed a neuter gender, based on the incorrect conclusion that the [ũ] that came to be pronounced in some areas for masculine [o] after a nasal consonant was analogous to Gujarati's neuter [ũ]. A formal grammar of the precursor to this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra Suri in the reign of Solanki king Jayasimha Siddharaja. Maharana Kumbha wrote Sangeet Raj, a book on musicology and a treatise on Jai Deva’s Geet Govinda.
Rajasthani language and geographical distribution of its dialects
Standard Rajasthani is the common lingua franca of Rajasthani people and is spoken by over 25 million people (2011) in different parts of Rajasthan. It has to be taken into consideration, however, that some speakers of Standard Rajasthani are conflated with Hindi speakers in the census.
In 2003, the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution to insert recognition of Rajasthani into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. In May 2015, a senior member of the pressure group Rajasthani Bhasha Manyata Samiti, said at a New Delhi press conference: “Twelve years have passed, but there has absolutely been no forward movement.”
Script of Rajasthani accessed from Mewar State Records
Bahi Patta written by Maharana Pratap in Old Mewari
In India, Rajasthani is written in the Devanagari script, an abugida which is written from left to right. Earlier, the Mahajani script, or Modiya, was used to write Rajasthani. The script is also called as Maru Gurjari in a few records. In Pakistan, where Rajasthani is considered a minor language, a variant of the Sindhi script is used to write Rajasthani dialects.
In common with most other Indo-Iranian languages, the basic sentence typology is subject–object–verb. On a lexical level, Rajasthani has perhaps a 50 to 65 percent overlap with Hindi, based on a comparison of a 210-word Swadesh list. Most pronouns and interrogative words differ from Hindi, but the language does have several regular correspondences with, and phonetic transformations from, Hindi. The /s/ in Hindi is often realized as /h/ in Rajasthani — for example, the word ‘gold’ is /sona/ (सोना) in Hindi and /hono/ (होनो) in the Marwari dialect of Rajasthani. Furthermore, there are a number of vowel substitutions, and the Hindi /l/ sound (ल) is often realized in Rajasthani as a retroflex lateral /ɭ/ (ळ).
Rajasthani has 10 vowels and 31 consonants. The Rajasthani language Bagri has developed three lexical tones: low, mid and high.
Rajasthani has two numbers and two genders with three cases. Postpositions are of two categories, inflexional and derivational. Derivational postpositions are mostly omitted in actual discourse.
Rajasthani belongs to the languages that mix three types of case marking systems: nominative – accusative: transitive (A) and intransitive (S) subjects have similar case marking, different from that of transitive object (O); absolutive-ergative (S and O have similar marking, different from A), tripartite (A, S and O have different case marking). There is a general tendency existing in the languages with split nominal systems: the split is usually conditioned by the referents of the core NPs, the probability of ergative marking increasing from left to right in the following nominal hierarchy: first person pronouns – second person pronouns – demonstratives and third person pronouns – proper nouns – common nouns (human – animate – inanimate). Rajasthani split case marking system partially follows this hierarchy:first and second person pronouns have similar A and S marking, the other pronouns and singular nouns are showing attrition of A/S opposition.
Agreement: 1. Rajasthani combines accusative/tripartite marking in nominal system with consistently ergative verbal concord: the verb agrees with both marked and unmarked O in number and gender (but not in person — contrast Braj). Another peculiar feature of Rajasthani is the split in verbal concord when the participial component of a predicate agrees with O-NP while the auxiliary verb might agree with A-NP. 2. Stative participle from transitive verbs may agree with the Agent. 3. Honorific agreement of feminine noun implies masculine plural form both in its modifiers and in the verb.
In Hindi and Punjabi only a few combinations of transitive verbs with their direct objects may form past participles modifying the Agent: one can say in Hindi:‘Hindī sīkhā ādmī’ – ‘a man who has learned Hindi’ or ‘sāṛī bādhī aurāt’ – ‘a woman in sari’, but *‘kitāb paṛhā ādmī ‘a man who has read a book’ is impossible. Semantic features of verbs whose perfective participles may be used as modifiers are described in (Dashchenko 1987). Rajasthani seems to have less constrains on this usage, compare bad in Hindi but normal in Rajasthani.
Rajasthani has retained an important feature of ergative syntax lost by the other representatives of Modern Western New Indo-Aryan (NIA), namely, the free omission of Agent NP from the perfective transitive clause.
Rajasthani is the only Western NIA language where the reflexes of Old Indo-Aryan synthetic passive have penetrated into the perfective domain.
Rajasthani as well as the other NIA languages shows deviations from Baker’s 'mirror principle', that requires the strict pairing of morphological and syntactic operations (Baker 1988). The general rule is that the 'second causative' formation implies a mediator in the argument structure. However, some factors block addition of an extra agent into the causative construction.
In the typical Indo-Aryan relative-correlative construction the modifying clause is usually marked by a member of the "J" set of relative pronouns, adverbs and other words, while the correlative in the main clause is identical with the remote demonstrative (except in Sindhi and in Dakhini). Gujarati and Marathi frequently delete the preposed "J" element. In Rajasthani the relative pronoun or adverb may also be deleted from the subordinate clause but – as distinct from the neighbouring NIA – relative pronoun or adverb may be used instead of correlative.
Relative pronoun 'jakau' may be used not only in relative/correlative constructions, but also in complex sentences with "cause/effect" relations.
थे किकर छो/हो?
𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚔𝚊𝚛 chho/ho?
How are you?
थे कांई कर रिह्या छो/हो?
𝚝𝚑𝚎 kaa𝚒 kar ri𝚑ya chho/ho?
What are you doing?
म्हानै जावा द्यो।
Mhane jaa𝚟a dyo.
Let me go.
म्हूँ/हूं मतीरो जिम'न जा रिह्यो छूं/हूं।
Mhu matiro 𝚓𝚒𝚖'n ja ri𝚑yo chhun/hun.
I am going to eat watermelon.
काकोसा पीपळी रे हेटे पोढ़ रिह्या छै/है।
Kakosa peepli re 𝚑𝚎𝚝e podh ri𝚑ya che/hai.
Uncle is sleeping under the Sacred fig tree.
Son in law
बेटो/ डीकरो/ जायोड़ो
बेटी/ डीकरी/ जाएड़ी
Sample Sentences in Old Rajasthani
bhala hoi huka(ṃ)ma sanāha bhara(ṃ), kasīya(ṃ)(ta) jarada kaṛī bakaṛaṃ
kisi ṭopa raṃgāvali kaṃga līyāṃ, sira hāṃthala soha sirai kasīyaṃ
The warriors [with] armour, the weapon-wielders [with] saffron-coloured
armour [and] armour [of] heavy metal rings, ‘became’ numerous [on] command.
All the best [warriors] [were] ready, wearing helmets [and] thigh protection,
adorned with protection for the fingers, taking their swords.
bhrita cola cakhī ati rosa bhilī, mukha muṃcha aṃṇī jāi bhuṃha milī93
He is) very angry, (with) very red eyes he attacks, (his) moustache moving
(upwards), goes (to his) eyebrows (and) meets (his eyebrows).
(His) outstretched arm(s) touch the sky (and) (the goddess) Vrimala, (his) power
(is) like (the power of Vishnu’s avatar) Tikam, he effects good deeds.
praṇamaṃta meha pābu prasidha, tha parasidha pramāṇa paha(ṃ)
Translation: “Meha ‘salutes’ Pabuji(‘s) glory (saying): “You (have) glory like god
Linguists and their work and year: [Note: Works concerned only with linguistics, not with literature]
Gusain, Lakhan. 1994. Reflexives in Bagri. M.Phil. dissertation. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University
Gusain, Lakhan. 1999. A Descriptive Grammar of Bagri. Ph.D. dissertation. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University
Gusain, Lakhan. 2000a. Limitations of Literacy in Bagri. Nicholas Ostler & Blair Rudes (eds.). Endangered Languages and Literacy. Proceedings of the Fourth FEL Conference. University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 21–24 September 2000
Gusain, Lakhan. 2000b. Bagri. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 384)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2001. Shekhawati. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 385)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2002. Endangered Language: A Case Study of Sansiboli. M.S. Thirumalai(ed.). Language in India, Vol. 2:9
Gusain, Lakhan. 2003. Mewati. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 386)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2004. Marwari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 427)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2005. Mewari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 431)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2006. Dhundhari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 435)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2007. Harauti. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 434)
Gusain, Lakhan. 2008. Wagri. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 437)
Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan. 1986. Grammatical Capture in Rajasthani. Scott DeLancey and Russell Tomlin, (eds.), Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the Pacific Linguistics Conference. Eugene: Deptt. of Linguistics. 203-20
Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan.1988. The Perfective Adverb in Bhitrauti. Word 39:177-86
Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan. 1988. On the Functions and Origin of the Extended Verb in Southern Rajasthani. Gave.sa.naa 51:39–57
Khokhlova, Liudmila Viktorovna. in press. "Infringement of Morphological and Syntactic Operations' Pairing in "Second Causative" Formation (Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani)." Indian Linguistics 64.
Khokhlova, Liudmila. 2001 Ergativity Attrition in the history of western New Indo-Aryan Languages (Panjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani). In The Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. Tokyo Symposium on South Asian Languages. Contact, Convergence and Typology. Edpp.158–184, ed. by P. Bhaskararao & K.V. Subbarao. New Delhi-London: Sage Publication
Macalister, George. 1898. A Dictionary of the Dialects Spoken in the State of Jeypore. 1st edition. Allahabad: Allahabad Mission Press
Magier, David S. 1983. Topics in the Grammar of Marwari. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California
Magier, David S. 1984. Transitivity and valence: Some lexical processes in Marwari. Berkeley Linguistic Society 10
Magier, David S. 1985. Case and Transitivity in Marwari. Arlene R.K. Zide, David Magier & Eric Schiller (eds.). Proceedings of the Conference on Participant Roles: South Asia and Adjacent Areas. An Ancillary Meeting of the CLS Regional Meeting, 25 April 1984, University of Chicago. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Linguistics Club. 149-59
Miltner, V. 1964. Old Gujarati, Middle Gujarati, and Middle Rajasthani sentence structure. Bharatiya Vidya 24:9–31
Phillips, Maxwell P (2012) Dialect Continuum in the Bhil Tribal Belt: Grammatical Aspects. PhD Thesis, SOAS, University of London
Sakaria, B. & B. Sakaria. 1977. Rajasthani-Hindi Shabda-Kosh. Jaipur: Panchsheel Prakashan
Shackle, Christopher (1976). The Saraiki Language of Central Pakistan: A Reference Grammar. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.
Shackle, Christopher (1977). "Saraiki: A Language Movement in Pakistan". Modern Asian Studies 11 (3): 279–403.
Smith, J.D. 1975. An Introduction to the Language of the Historical Documents from Rajasthan. Modern Asian Studies 9.4:433-64
Swami, N.D. 1960. Sankshipta Rajasthani Vyakaran. Bikaner: Rajasthani Research Institute
Tessitori, L.P. 1914-16. Notes on the Grammar of Old Western Rajasthani. Indian Antiquary:43-5
Dwivedi, A.V. 2012. A Descriptive Grammar of Hadoti, Published by LINCOM.
Chand, Gulab. 2012. An Analysis of Sociolinguistic Variation & Style in Harauti” M.Phil Dissertation, Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya Hindi University, Wardha, Maharashtra.
Chand, Gulab. and Kar, Somdev. 2017. REVIVAL OF ENDANGERED LANGUAGES: A CASE STUDY OF HADOTI” International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics (IJDL), Dravidian Linguistics Association, Vol. 46 No.2, 153-170, (ISSN No. 0378-2484).
Chand, Gulab. and Kar, Somdev. 2017. Sonority and Reduplication in Hadoti”. Journal of Universal Language, Language Research Institute, Sejong University Vol. 18. No.2, 1-37. <https://doi.org/10.22425/jul.2017.18.2.1> (eISSN: 2508-5344).
Chand, Gulab. 2018. The Phonology of reduplication in Hadoti: An Optimality Theoretic Approach”.PhD Thesis, IIT Ropar, Punjab
Chand, Gulab. and Kar, Somdev. 2020. REDUPLICATION INITIATED THROUGH DISCOURSE MARKERS: A CASE OF HADOTI." DIALECTOLOGIA, No. 25, 113-136, University of Barcelona, Spain. (ISSN: 2013-2247).
^Census of India, 2001. Rajasthan. New Delhi: Government Press
^Stroński, Krzysztof, Joanna Tokaj, and Saartje Verbeke. "A diachronic account of converbal constructions in old rajasthani." Historical Linguistics 2015: Selected papers from the 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Naples, 27-31 July 2015. Vol. 348. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2019.
^Ajay Mitra Shastri; R. K. Sharma; Devendra Handa (2005). Revealing India's past: recent trends in art and archaeology. Aryan Books International. p. 227. ISBN8173052875. It is an established fact that during 10th–11th century...Interestingly the language was known as the Gujjar Bhakha..
^Gold, Ann Grodzins. A Carnival of Parting: The Tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chand as Sung and Told by Madhu Natisar Nath of Ghatiyali, Rajasthan. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1992 1992. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft3g500573/