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Bhojpuri language

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Title: Bhojpuri language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Languages of India, Languages of Nepal, Fiji Hindi, Hindustani language, Languages with official status in India
Collection: Bihari Languages, Languages of India, Languages of Mauritius, Languages of Nepal
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Bhojpuri language

भोजपुरी bhōjapurī
The word "Bhojpuri" in Devanagari script
Pronunciation [1]
Native to India, Nepal, Mauritius
Region Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhesh
Native speakers
40 million  (2001 census)[2]
Census results conflate some speakers with Hindi.[3]
Caribbean Hindustani (including Sarnami Hindi)
Northern (Gorakhpuri, Sarawaria, Basti)
Western (Purbi, Benarsi)
Southern (Kharwari)
Tharu Bhojpuri
Devanagari (present), Kaithi (Historical)[4]
Official status
Official language in
Madhesh, Nepal
Language codes
ISO 639-2 bho
ISO 639-3 bhoinclusive code
Individual code:
hns – Caribbean Hindustani
Glottolog bhoj1246[5]
Linguasphere 59-AAF-sa

Bhojpuri (

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri, United Nations Information Centre, India (1998)
  • Listen to a recording in Bhojpuri, Parable of the prodigal son in Bhojpuri, Recorded on May 16, 1920, Linguistic Survey of India, Archives of University of Chicago, USA

External links

  1. ^ Pronunciation Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press
  2. ^ Bhojpuri at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Caribbean Hindustani at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  3. ^ Language Demographics Census, Government of India (2001)
  4. ^ a b c d e Bhojpuri Ethnologue World Languages (2009)
  5. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bhojpuric". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  6. ^ Detailed language map of western Nepal, see disjunct enclaves of language #9 in SE
  7. ^ a b c Rajend Mesthrie, Language in indenture: a sociolinguistic history of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa, Routledge, 1992, ISBN 978-0415064040, pages 30-32
  8. ^ a b c d Bhojpuri Language Materials Project, University of California - Los Angeles, United States
  9. ^ Hindustani, Caribbean Ethnologue (2013)
  10. ^ William J. Frawley, International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Volume 1, ISBN 0-19-513977-1, Oxford University Press, Bhojpuri, page 481
  11. ^ Sarita Boodho, Bhojpuri traditions in Mauritius, Mauritius Bhojpuri Institute, 1999, ISBN 978-9990390216, pages 47-48 and 85-92
  12. ^ Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17–21 August 2011, pp 1390
  13. ^ Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17–21 August 2011, pp 1390-1393
  14. ^ a b c Robert L. Trammell, The Phonology of the Northern Standard Dialect of Bhojpuri, Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Apr., 1971), pp. 126-141
  15. ^ a b Verma, Manindra K. (2003), Bhojpuri, In Cardona et al. (Editors), The Indo-Aryan Languages, 515-537. London: Routledge
  16. ^ Shukla, Shaligram (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Washington, D. C., Georgetown University Press
  17. ^ a b Universal Declaration of Human Rights Bhojpuri language (United Nations)
  18. ^ Universal Declaration of Human Rights Hindi language (United Nations)
  19. ^ Universal Declaration of Human Rights English language (United Nations)
  20. ^ Parable of the prodigal son in Benares Bhojpuri, A Recording in May, 1920 by Rajaji Gupta, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  21. ^ a b Parable of the prodigal son in Nagpuria Bhojpuri, A Recording in 1920 by Shiva Sahay Lal, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  22. ^ Map of Southern Standard Bhojpuri Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  23. ^ a b Shaligram Shukla (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Georgetown University School of Language, ISBN 978-0878401895
  24. ^ Western Standard Bhojpuri Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  25. ^ Monika Horstmann (1969), Sadani, Indologia Berolinensis, Otto Harrassowitz - Weisbaden, Germany, pp 176-180
  26. ^ Recognition' of Bhojpuri sought"'". The Times Of India. Jan 23, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Chidambaram speaks a surprise". Chennai, India.  
  28. ^ Traditions of heroic and epic poetry - Google Books. 1969-12-04. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  29. ^ Bhojpuri - The Sunday Indian Newspaper
  30. ^
  31. ^ Bhelari, Amit (2011-06-16). "Bhojpuri singer popular in Pakistan". Calcutta, India: Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  32. ^ Iftekharul Bashar, Unresolved Statelessness: The Case of Biharis in Bangladesh, Journal of International Affairs: A Quarterly Publication of the Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs, Volume 10, 2006, pages 89-98
  33. ^ "Forced Labour". The National Archives, Government of the United Kingdom. 2010. 
  34. ^ Richard Keith Barz and Jeff Siegel (Editors), Language Transplanted: The Development of Overseas Hindi, Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447028721, page 198

Notes and references

See also

Bhojpuri language is also found among people who were brought as indentured laborers in the 19th century and early 20th century, for work in sugarcane plantations during British colonial era, to Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa.[7][8][33] In Trinidad, Guyana, Mauritius and South Africa, the language is already moribund or spoken only by members of older generation.[34]

Outside South Asia

Bhojpuri is a major language spoken in Nepal with official status.[8]

In Bangladesh, Bhojpuri speaking Muslims are also found. However, their total number is estimated to be smaller than number of Bhojpuri speakers in Mauritius, African, Caribbean and South American nations. They are considered refugees of Pakistan in Bangladesh, since the 1971 war and separation of Bangladesh and Pakistan.[32]

After separation of Pakistan and India in 1947, many Bhojpuri speaking Muslims migrated to Pakistan and Bangladesh. Some of those who moved to Pakistan, settled in Karachi. The Bhojpuri dialect is currently spoken by elderly while the younger generation now speak standard Urdu and those living in Punjab region of Pakistan have become fluent in Punjabi. The Bhojpuri dialect is also known as Bihari dialect in Pakistan.[31]

South Asia

Bhojpuri outside India

Many Bhojpuri magazines and papers are published in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Parichhan is a contemporary important literary-cultural Maithili-Bhojpuri magazine, published by Maithili-Bhojpuri academy, Delhi government and edited by Parichay Das. The Sunday Indian, Bhojpuri[29] is a regular national news magazine in Bhojpuri published by Planman Media, owned by Prof. Arindam Chaudhary and edited by Onkareshwar Pandey. Other media in Bhojpuri include Lok Lucknow,[30] Mahuaa TV and Hamar TV as Bhojpuri language channels, and a weekly paper in Bhojpuri published from Birgunj, Parsa of Nepal whose publisher is Dipendra Prasad Kanu.

Bhojpuri media

Lorikayan, or the story of Veer Lorik, is a famous Bhojpuri folklore of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.[28]

Bhojpuri literature

Ravikant Dubey has petitioned that bhojpuri language be one of the official languages of India.[26] For cultural reasons, it is usually seen as a dialect of Hindi. Due to the persistent demand from Bhojpuri language activists to recognize it as an official language, P Chidambaram, Home Minister, Government of India announced to Lok Sabha speaker a few lines in Bhojpuri : “hum rauwa sabke bhavna samjhatani (I understand your feelings)”, proposing to include Bhojpuri in 8th Schedule of the Constitution and accorded the official status.[27]


Nagpuria Bhojpuri (not to be confused with Nagpuri) is southern most dialect, found in Chhotanagpur region of Jharkhand, particularly parts of Palamau and of Ranchi. It has more Magahi influence.[21][23] It is sometimes referred to as Sadani.[25]

Western Bhojpuri is prevalent the areas of Varanasi, Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh ‘Banarasi’ is a local name for the Banaras Bhojpuri. Western Bhojpuri is also referred to as "Purbi" or "Benarsi".[24]

Northern Bhojpuri is common in the areas of Deoria, Gorakhpur and Basti in Uttar Pradesh, north Bihar and Nepal.[23] Local names include ‘Gorakhpuri’ for the language in Deoria and eastern Gorakhpur, and ‘Sarwariya’ in western Gorakhpur and Basti. The variety spoken cast of Gandak river between Gorakhpuri Bhojpuri and Maithili in Champaran has a local name Pachhimahwa. Northern Bhojpuri has Maithili influence.

Southern Standard Bhojpuri is prevalent the areas of Bhojpur, Rohtas, Saran, Bhabua, Buxar, Siwan, Gopalganj in Bihar, and Ballia and eastern Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Kharwari’. It can be further divided in to 'Shahabadi' and 'Chapariyah'.[22]

  1. Southern Standard Bhojpuri,
  2. Northern Standard Bhojpuri,
  3. Western Standard Bhojpuri,[20]
  4. Nagpuria Bhojpuri[21]

Bhojpuri has following dialects, the first three being the major child dialects:[8]

The known dialects, per world language classification system, are: Bhojpuri Tharu, Domra, Madhesi, Musahari, Northern Standard Bhojpuri (Basti, Gorakhpuri, Sarawaria), Southern Standard Bhojpuri (Kharwari), and Western Standard Bhojpuri (Benarsi, Purbi).[4]


Similarly, adjectives are marked for politeness and formality. For example, "your" has several words (or synonym) but with a different tone of politeness: "tōr" (casual and intimate), "tōhār" (polite and intimate), "t'hār" (formal yet intimate), "rā'ur" (polite and formal) and "āp ke" (extremely formal).

Literary [tu] āō [tu] bōl
Casual and intimate [tu] āō [tu] bōl
Polite and intimate [tu] āv' [tu] bōl'
Formal yet intimate [rau'ā] āīñ [rau'ā] bōlīñ
Polite and formal [āp] āīñ [āp] bōlīñ
Extremely formal āyā jā'e bōlā jā'e

Bhojpuri syntax and vocabulary reflects a three-tier system of politeness. Any verb can be conjugated as per these tiers. For example, the verb "to come" in Bhojpuri is "aana" and the verb "to speak" is "bolna". The imperatives "come!" and "speak!" can thus be conjugated five ways, each marking subtle variation in politeness and propriety. These permutations exclude a host of auxiliary verbs and expressions which can be added to these verbs to add even greater degree of subtle variation. For extremely polite or formal situations, the pronoun is generally ignored.


Note that the above table is mostly based on talking to a male who is older or of the same age. At other times, "tahaar" tends to be "tohaar" and "tor" (for a younger person). While talking to someone, people often use the word "falan" or "falana" to refer to someone unnamed or unknown, like, "Falana ke babuji hiyan aail rahen" which means, His (which is unnamed or he who can not be named) father has come here.

English sentence Bhojpuri translation
What is your name? Tohaar naa (/naam) kaa ha?
Come here. Hiyan aava.(yehar aava)
What are you doing? Tu kaa karat hava?
That man is going. Ooh marda jaat haan/ Ooh marda jaat aa.
How are you? Kaa haal ba??
I'm fine. Hum theek haiin/baani.
I don't know. Hum naikhi jaanat./ Hamke naikhe maalum/Humra Naikhe Maaloom
He is my son. Eeh hamaar chhaura(/laika) ha.
She is my daughter. Eeh hamaar chhauri(/laiki) hiya.
What should i do? Hum kaa kari?/ Hamke kaa kare ke chahi?
What did they do? Ohni ke kaa karla san?
Did you all eat? Tuhni sab khaila san?
He is eating an apple. Ooh ago sev khaat haan/ Ooh ago sev khaat aa.
Where were you, I was waiting for you? Kahan raha tu, kab se tahar baat johat rahin?
I saw the film last week. Hum pichhla hafta filim dekhle haiin.
They went to the mosque. Ooh sabhe mahjid gaile haan.
She slept the whole night. Ooh bhar raat suttal rahe.
I go. Hum jaat haiin./ Hum jaat aiin.
He has eaten. Ooh khailas haan./ Ooh khaa lehlas.
He will eat. Ooh khayi.
He will go. Ooh jaayi.
Why did you tell him to go? Tu ohke kaahe jaaye ke kahle ha
Why is here crowded? Hiyan (yehar) maye aalam kaahe juttal ha?/ Hiyan (yehar) itna hujum kaahe ha?
I have to leave for Varanasi, next early morning. Humke kaal fajire Banaras khatir nikle la haan./Humke kalh fajire Banaras khatir nikle ke ba.
Which is best Hindi newspaper. Sabse badhiya Hindi akhbar kawan howe la.
Where should i go? Hum kahaan jaai?
It is a book. Ee ago kitab ha.
Will you give me your pen? Tu hamke aapan kalam deba?
Yes, of course./ Why not. Haan, jarur./ Kaahe na.
Which village, you hail from? Tu kawan gaon se talluk rakhe la?/ Tahaar gaon kahaan ha?
Did he call you? Kaa ooh tahraa bulavale haan?
This is our area. Ee sabh apne jageer ha.
What's going on? Kaa chalat haan?/ Kaa chal rahal ba?
Please say that again. Tani phir se kaha.
Pleased to meet you. Tohse mil ke badhiya lagal haan./ Tohse mil ke khusi bhayil haan.
Is everything alright? Sab khairiyat se ha na?
How was your exam? Tahaar imtihaan kaisan rahe?
Are you married? Tahaar biyah bhail ha?/ Tu shadishuda hava?
She doesn't understand anything. Ohke jari na samajh me aave./ Oke tanko na bujhaa la.
Please speak more slowly Jari aahista bola/ Tani aahista bola
You are very beautiful. Tu badi suhnar (/khapsoorat) hava. (to male)/ Tu badi suhnar (/khapsoorat) hau. (to female)
He is looking at you. Ooh tohka taakat haan.
My life is full of problems. Hamar jinigi khalsa pareshani se bharal ba.
Come with me. Hamra saathe aava./ Hamra sange aava.
One language is never enough. Ago juban kabho kafi na hove la/ Ek bhakha kab'ho jada na hokhe la.
I'll come after you. Hum taharaa paachhe aaib.
Go there Hunva jaa.
I can do anything for you. Hum tahraa vaaste kuchhu kar sakat haiin./ Hum tahraa khaatir kuchhuwo kar saki na.

Sample sentences

Article 1 — All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.[19]

अनुच्छेद १ — सभी मनुष्यों को गौरव और अधिकारों के मामले में जन्मजात स्वतन्त्रता और समानता प्राप्त हैं। उन्हें बुद्धि और अन्तरात्मा की देन प्राप्त है और परस्पर उन्हें भाईचारे के भाव से बर्ताव करना चाहिये।[18]

अनुच्छेद १ — सबहि लोकानि आजादे जम्मेला आओर ओखिनियो के बराबर सम्मान आओर अघ्कार प्राप्त हवे। ओखिनियो के पास समझ-बूझ आओर अंत:करण के आवाज होखता आओर हुनको के दोसरा के साथ भाईचारे के बेवहार करे के होखला।[17]

The United Nations has published the universal declaration of human rights in Bhojpuri language, one of 153 languages of the world. [17] Article 1 of the declaration in Bhojpuri, Hindi and English respectively are:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri language

According to Trammell, the syllable system is peak type. Every syllable has the vowel phoneme as the highest point of sonority. Codas may consist of one, two or three consonants. Vowels occur as simple peaks or as peak nuclei in diphthongs. The intonation system involves four pitch levels and three terminal contours.[14][16]

Bhojpuri has six vowel phonemes,[15] and ten vocoids. The higher vowels are relatively tense, while lower vowels are relatively lax. The language 31 consonant phonemes, and 34 contoids (6 bilabial, 4 apico-dental, 5 apico-alveolar, 7 retroflex, 6 alveo-palatal, 5 dorso-velar and 1 glottal).[14]

Robert Trammell has published the phonology of Bhojpuri.[14][15]

Bhojpuri is, sociolinguistically, one of the seven Hindi languages namely, Haryanvi, Braj, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli. Bagheli and Kannauji.[12] Of these seven, Bhojpuri has the most allophonic variations in vowels.[13]


By 1894, official works were carried out in both Kaithi and Devanagari in Bihar. At present almost all the Bhojpuri works are done in Devanagari even in the overseas islands where Bhojpuri is spoken. For example, in Mauritius, both Kaithi and Devanagari scripts have been in use, since the first arrival of Bhojpuri people from India. The Kathi script was considered informal in Mauritius, with the structure of Kaithi similar to Devanagari (spelled Devanagri in Mauritius). In modern Mauritius, Bhojpuri script is Devanagri.[11]

Kaithi script was used for administrative purposes in the Mughal era for writing Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Maithili, Urdu, Magahi and Hindi from at least 16th century up to the first decade of 20th century. Government gazetteers report that Kaithi was used in a few districts of Bihar through the 1960s. Bhojpuri residents of India, who signed up and moved as indentured labor in Africa and the Caribbean colonies of the British Empire in 19th century and early 20th century, used Kaithi as well as Devanagari scripts.[7]

Bhojpuri was historically written in Kaithi scripts,[4] But after 1894, Devanagari has served as the primary script.

Bhojpuri story written in Kaithi script, written by Babu Rama Smaran Lal in 1898

Writing system


  • Writing system 1
  • Phonology 2
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri language 3
  • Sample sentences 4
    • Politeness 4.1
  • Dialects 5
  • Recognition 6
  • Bhojpuri literature 7
  • Bhojpuri media 8
  • Bhojpuri outside India 9
    • South Asia 9.1
    • Outside South Asia 9.2
  • See also 10
  • Notes and references 11
  • External links 12

This region is bounded by the Awadhi-speaking region to the west, Nepal Bhasa and Nepali to the north, Magahi- and Maithili-speaking regions to the east, and Magahi- and Bagheli-speaking regions to the south.[4]


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