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Kurukh language

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Title: Kurukh language  
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Subject: Dravidian languages, Languages of South Asia, List of languages by number of native speakers in India, Brahui language, Maithon Dam
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Kurukh language

Native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan
Region Odisha
Ethnicity Kurukh people
Native speakers
c. 2 million  (2001)[1]
Tolong Siki, Devanagari script
Language codes
ISO 639-2 kru
ISO 639-3 Variously:
kru – Kurukh
kxl – Nepali Kurux (Dhangar)
xis – Kisan

Kurukh [2] (also Kurux and Oraon or Uranw;[3] Devanagari: कुड़ुख़) is a Dravidian language spoken by nearly two million Oraon and Kisan tribal peoples of Odisha and surrounding areas of India (Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal), as well as by 50,000 in northern Bangladesh, 28,600 a dialect called Dhangar in Nepal, and about 5,000 in Bhutan. It is most closely related to Brahui and Malto (Paharia).


Kurukh belongs to the Northern Dravidian group of the Dravidian family of languages,[4] and is closely related to Sauria Paharia and Kumarbhag Paharia, which are often together referred to as Malto.[5]

Kurukh is written in the Devanagari script, a script used to write Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and other Indo-Aryan languages. Dr. Narayan Oraon, a medical doctor, has invented the Tolong Siki script for Kurukh language. Many books and magazine have been published in Tolong Siki script. The Kurukh Literary Society of India have been instrumental to spread the Tolong Siki script for Kurukh literature.


It is spoken by 2,053,000 people from the Oraon and Kisan tribes, having 1,834,000 and 219,000 speakers, respectively. The literacy rate is 23% Oraon and 17% Kisan. Despite the large number of speakers, the language is considered at risk for extinction.[6] The governments of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh have introduced the Kurukh language in schools where Kurukhars or Oraon students are in a majority.

Alternative names and dialects

Kurukh has a number of alternative names, some are: Uraon, Kurux, Kunrukh, Kunna, Urang, Morva, and Birhor. There are also two dialects, Oraon and Kisan, that have 73% intelligibility between them. Oraon is currently being standardized, Kisan is not.


Kurukh contrasts oral and nasal vowels.[7]


  1. ^ Kurukh at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Nepali Kurux (Dhangar) at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Kisan at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ "Kurukh".  
  3. ^
  4. ^ Stassen, Leon (1997). Intransitive Predication. Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory.  
  5. ^ PS Subrahmanyam, "Kurukh", in ELL2. Ethnologue assigns Nepali Kurux a separate iso code, kxl.
  6. ^ Daniel Nettle and Suzanne Romaine. Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Page 9.
  7. ^ Masica, Colin P. (2003). "South Asian Languages". International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford Reference (Oxford University Press). Retrieved 17 May 2013. 

External links

  • Ferdinand Hahn (1903). Kuruḵh̲ (Orā̃ō)-English dictionary. Bengal Secretariat Press. pp. 126–. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  • Ferdinand Hahn (1900). Kuruḵẖ grammar. Bengal Secretariat Press. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  • Kuruk̲h̲ folk-lore: in the original. The Bengal Secretariat Book Depot. 1905. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  • Kurukh basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
  • Omniglot's page on Tolong Siki

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