|2.63 million (2011 census)|
Sambalpuri speaking areas(dialect continuum in green) in Odisha and Chhattisgarh
Sambalpuri is an Indo-Aryan language variety spoken in western Odisha, India. It is alternatively known as Western Odia, and as Kosali (with variants Kosli, Koshal and Koshali), a recently popularised but controversial term, which draws on an association with the historical region of Dakshina Kosala, whose territories also included the present-day Sambalpur region.
Its speakers usually perceive it as a separate language, while outsiders have seen it as a dialect of Odia, and standard Odia is used by Sambalpuri speakers for formal communication. A 2006 survey of the varieties spoken in four villages found out that they share three-quarters of their basic vocabulary with Standard Odia.
There were 2.63 million people in India who declared their language to be Sambalpuri at the 2011 census, almost all of them residents in Odisha. These speakers were mostly concetrated in the districts of Bargarh (1,130,000 speakers), Subarnapur (364,000), Balangir (335,000), Sambalpur (275,000), Jharsuguda (245,000), Nuapada (145,000), Baudh (90,700), and Sundargarh (42,700).
The inscriptions and literary works from the Western Odisha region used the Odia script, which is attested through the inscriptions like the Stambeswari stone inscription of 1268 CE laid by the Eastern Ganga monarch Bhanu Deva I at Sonepur and the Meghla grant and Gobindpur charter of Raja Prithvi Sing of Sonepur State and also through the major epic Kosalananda Kavya composed during the 17th century Chauhan rule under Raja Baliar Singh of the Sambalpur State, which was written in Sanskrit in Odia script.
The Devanagari script may have been used in the past, (the Hindi language was mandated in administration and education in Sambalpur for the brief period 1895–1901)
Sambalpuri has 28 consonant phonemes, 2 semivowel phonemes and 5 vowel phonemes.
There are no long vowels in Sambalpuri just like Standard Odia.
Sambalpuri shows loss of retroflex consonants like retroflex unaspirated nasal(voiced retroflex nasal) ɳ (ଣ) and voiced retroflex lateral approximant [ɭ] (ଳ) which are present in Standard Odia.
The following is a list of features and comparison with Standard Odia:
Some key features include-
Word Medial Vowel Deletion- Syncope
|ପଢ଼ିବା (paṛibā) padhibā||ପଢ଼୍ବାର୍ (paṛbār) padhbār||to study|
|ଗାଧେଇବା (gādheibā)||ଗାଧ୍ବାର୍ (gādhbār)||to bath|
|ହସିବା (hasibā)||ହସ୍ବାର୍ (hasbār)||to laugh|
|ବୁଲିବା (bulibā)||ବୁଲ୍ବାର୍ (bulbār)||to roam|
|ରାନ୍ଧିବା (rāndhibā)||ରାନ୍ଧ୍ବାର୍ (rāndhbār)||to cook|
|ଖେଳିବା (kheḷibā)||ଖେଲ୍ବାର୍ (khelbār)||to play|
Exceptions to Word Medial Vowel Deletion- seen in '-ai' diphthongs
|ଖାଇବା (khāibā)||ଖାଏବାର୍ (khāebār)||to eat|
|ଗାଇବା (gāibā)||ଗାଏବାର୍ (gāebār)||to sing|
|ପାଇବା (pāibā)||ପାଏବାର୍ (pāebār)||to get|
|ହାଇ (hāi)||ହାଇ (hāi)||yawn|
|ଗାଇ (gāi)||ଗାଏ (gāe)||cow|
Vowel Harmony- 'o' to 'u' phoneme shift, feature also seen in Baleswari Odia dialect
|ଶୋଇବା (soibā)||ସୁଇବାର୍ (suibār)||to sleep|
|ଖୋଜିବା (khojibā)||ଖୁଜ୍ବାର୍ (khujbār)||to search|
Lengthening of Vowel Sound - vowels which appear in between consonants take their longer counterpart
|ପାଣି (pāṇi)||ପାଏନ୍ (pāen)||water|
|ଚାରି (cāri)||ଚାଏର୍ (cāer)||four|
Consonant shift- shift of 'ṇ' and 'ḷ' phonemes to 'n' and 'l'
|ଫଳ (phaḷa)||ଫଲ୍ (phal)||fruit|
Word Final Vowel Deletion(Schwa deletion Apocope)- a characteristic feature of Sambalpuri
|ଭଲ (bhala)||ଭଲ୍ (bhal)||good|
|ବାଘ (bāgha)||ବାଘ୍ (bāgh)||tiger|
|କୁକୁର (kukura)||କୁକୁର୍ (kukur)||dog|
|ଲୋକ (loka)||ଲୋକ୍ (lok)||people|
|ଗଛ (gacha)||ଗଛ୍ (gach)||tree|
|ଫୁଲ (phula)||ଫୁଲ୍ (phul)||flower|
|ଭାତ (bhāta)||ଭାତ୍ (bhāt)||rice|
|ଘର (ghara)||ଘର୍ (ghar)||house|
|ମାଛ (mācha)||ଝୁରି (jhuri)||fish|
|ବାଣ (bāṇa)||ଫଟ୍କା (phatka)||firecracker|
There has been a language movement campaigning for the recognition of the language. Its main objective has been the inclusion of the language into the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution.