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Bhojpuri 

bhojpuri

Introduction

Swagat ba (स्वागत बा) Welcome

Bhojpuri, also known as Bajpuri, Bhojapuri, Bhozpuri, Bihari, Deswali, Khotla, and Piscimas, is a member of the Bihari group of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Its closest relatives are Magahi and Maithili. Bhojpuri is a direct descendant of Sanskrit but there is very little information about its early history due to the absence of written records. Although Bhojpuri is not one of the established literary languages of India, it has a strong tradition of oral literature.

Status
Due to a long history of emigration from the region, Bhojpuri has spread over all continents of the world.

  • Bihar mapIndia
    Bhojpuri is spoken by 37.8 million people in India, primarily in the western part of the state of Bihar and eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and some adjoining areas of  Madhya Pradesh (Ethnologue). Currently it is not an official language, but the government of India is considering changing its status to that of a national scheduled language. Despite its unofficial status, Bhojpuri is used in government and mass media.
  • Nepal
    In Nepal, Bhojpuri is spoken by 1.7 million as a first language plus by another 74,000 as a second-language.
  • Mauritius
    Bhojpuri is spoken by 336,000 people in Mauritius but Hindi is used in schools and in the media.
  • Elsewhere
    Variants of Bhojpuri are spoken by descendants of Bhojpuri-speaking plantation workers in GuyanaSurinameFijiTrinidad and Tobago.

 

Dialects

Ethnologue identifies four major dialects of Bhojpuri which are mutually intelligible. Although the full range of variation is not firmly established, the differences among the dialects appear to be primarily lexical and phonological.

  • Northern Standard considered to be the most prestigious dialect of the language
  • Western Standard
  • Southern Standard
  • Nagpuria

 

Structure

Sound system

Bhojpuri syllables can begin and end in consonants. Consonant clusters occur in final positions only. It is also possible to have two vowels in a row.

Vowels
Bhojpuri has six vowel phonemes, i.e., sounds that differentiate word meaning.

Close
i
u
Mid
e
ə
o
Open
a, ā
  • /ə/ = a in about
  • The only length contrast is between /a/ and /ā/.
  • There are two diphthongs: /ai/ and /au/.

 

Consonants
The Bhojpuri sound system contains 34 consonant phonemes, depending on the variety analyzed. Most consonants can be geminated (doubled). There is a contrast between aspirated vs. unaspirated consonants. Aspirated consonants are produced with a strong puff of air. In the table above, aspirated consonants are marked by a raised [ʰ]. There is a contrast between and apical vs. retroflex consonants, e.g., /t/ – /ʈ/, /d/ – /ɖ/. Apical consonants are produced with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, whereas retroflex consonants are produced with the tongue curled, so that its underside comes in contact with the roof of the mouth.

Palatal
Stops voiceless unaspirated
p
t
ʈ
c
k
voiceless aspirated
ʈʰ
voiced unaspirated
b
d
ɖ
j
g
voiced aspirated
ɖʰ
Fricatives voiceless
s
h
Affricates voiceless unaspirated
voiceless aspirated
tʃʰ
voiced unaspirated
voiced aspirated
dʒʰ
Nasals unaspirated
m
n
ŋ
aspirated
ŋ
Laterals unaspirated
l
...
aspirated
Flaps unaspirated..
r
ɽ
aspirated
ɽʰ
Approximants .
w
j
  • /ʈ, ʈʰ, ɖ, ɖʰ, tʃʰ/ have no equivalents in English
  • /c/ has no equivalent in English
  • /tʃ/ = ch in chop
  • /dʒ/ = j in job
  • /ŋ/ = ng in song
  • /ɽ/ = r in hurt
  • /j/ = y in yet

 

Stress
Stress in Bhojpuri does not distinguish word meaning. Primary stress usually falls on the penultimate (one before last) syllable in two-syllable words and antepenultimate syllable in longer words.

Grammar

The grammar of Bhojpuri is similar to that of other Indo-Aryan languages. Grammatical relations are marked by inflectional suffixes. Bhojpuri morphology is fusional with a single ending representing several categories, which is typical of Indo-European languages.

Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns
Nouns in Bhojpuri are inflected for the following categories:

  • number: singular and plural
  • gender: masculine and feminine (for animate nouns only)
  • case: directoblique, and vocative; the direct case is used to mark subjects of sentences; the oblique case is used in pronouns with postpositions;
  • Adjectives are not marked for agreement with nouns.
  • 2nd and 3rd person pronouns are marked for several degrees of politeness.
  • 3rd person and demonstrative pronouns are distinguished by degrees of proximity.

 

Verbs
Verbs agree with their subjects in person, number and gender. Verbal categories include the following:

  • The typical structure of Bhojpuri verbs is Stem + Aspect/Tense + Personal ending which represents a combination of person and degree of politeness.
  • Subject pronouns are frequently dropped.
  • There are three persons: 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
  • There are three tenses: present, past, future.
  • There are two aspects: imperfective and perfective.
  • There are three moods: indicativeimperativeoptative.
  • Bhojpuri verbs mark 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in imperatives.
  • There are two voices: active and passive.
  • Negation is marked by a negative particle placed before the verb.

 

Word order
The normal word order in Bhojpuri is Subject – Object – Verb. Indirect objects precede direct objects. Determiners and modifiers precede the nouns they modify.

Vocabulary

The basic vocabulary of Bhojpuri is Sanskrit in origin. It uses prefixes and suffixes to derive words from basic elements, as well as reduplication and compounding. Over the years Bhojpuri has borrowed words from HindiBengali, and other neighboring Indo-Aryan languages, as well as from English.

Below are a few basic words and phrases in Bhojpuri.

Hello prannam, प्रणाम
Excuse me. maf kara, माफ करा
Thank you.  dhanyavad, धन्यवाद
Father babuji, बाबुजी
Mother माई (mayee),  महतारी
Boy laika, लइका
Girl laiki, लइकी
Brother bhai, भाई
Sister  bahin, बहिन

 

Below are Bhojpuri numerals 1-10 in Latin transcription.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
ēk
dui
tīn
cāri
pã:c
cʱæ
sāt
ātʰ
nao
das

Writing

Bhojpuri is written in the Kaithi script which is widely used throughout North India, primarily in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Like other Indic scripts, Kaithi is a descendant of the Brahmi script. Kaithi script derives its name from the word Kayastha, one of the social groups of North India. The script can be traced back to the 16th century. It was widely used during the Mughal Empire. Today, the Kaithi script is being replaced by Devanagari.

Kaithi has 35 consonant letters, each letter representing a consonant with an inherent vowel /a/. Other vowels are represented by a variety of diacritics around the consonant. There are also 10 letters representing separate vowels. Geminated consonants and long vowels are represented by different letters than their single counterparts..

Take a look at Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri. Note that the letters are suspended from a continuous top line.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri

Difficulty

Language Difficulty
questionHow difficult is it to learn Bhojpuri?
There is no data on the difficulty level of Bhojpuri for speakers of English.

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