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Marathi 

marahti
Krupayaa aatuyaa – Welcome

Marathi (also known as Maharashtri) is a member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is closely related to Hindi and Punjabi. It is spoken as a first language by 72 million people and by another 3 million people as a second language in India, primarily in the state of Maharashtra. South Africa mapMarathi is the fourth largest language of India. Outside of India it is spoken in Israel and Mauritius (Ethnologue).

Marathi is derived from Sanskrit through a Prakrit dialect called Maharashtri in the 1st-2nd centuries AD. It was the most widespread Prakrit dialect of its time. Maharashtri gradually evolved into Marathi in the 15th and 16th centuries,

Status

Marathi is one of the 22 official languages and 14 regional languages of India. It is the co-official language of the state of Maharashtra. The State of Goa also recognizes Marathi as an official language along with Konkani. Marathi is the medium of everyday communication in Maharashtra, and is also used in education, government, business, and the media.

Dialects

The dialect picture throughout the Marathi-speaking area is complex. Varieties that border other language areas tend to share feature with languages, such as TamilKannada, and Konkani. Despite differences among the dialects in pronunciation and vocabulary, they are, for the most part, mutually intelligible. Standard Marathi is based on the speech of educated speakers of Pune, the second largest city of Maharashtra after Mumbai. Literary Marathi, based on older varieties of the language, differs significantly from spoken Marathi

Structure

Sound system

Many of the phonological properties of Marathi are similar to those of Sanskrit and other Indo-Aryan languages. The use of consonant clusters is extremely limited, even in borrowed words.

Vowels
Marathi has 11 vowel phonemes (depending on the analysis), i.e., sounds that distinguish word meaning. All vowels, except /ə/ can be short or long. Vowel length makes a difference in word meaning.

Close i, ī
u, ū
Mid
e,ē
ə
o, ō
Open
a, ā
  • /i/ = ea in peat
  • /e/ = e in pet
  • /ə/ = a in ago
  • /a/ = a in bar
  • /u/ = oo in too
  • /o/ = o in token

 

Consonants
The consonant system of Marathi is also typical of IndoAryan languages.

  • There is a contrast between aspirated and unaspirated stops and affricates, including voiced ones, e.g., p—pʰ, t—tʰ, k—kʰ, b—bʰ, d—dʰ, g—gʰ, etc. Aspirated consonants are produced with a strong puff of air.
  • There is a contrast between apical and retroflex consonants, e.g., /t/ – /ʈ/, /d/ – /ɖ/, /n/ – /ɳ/, /r/ – /ɽ/. 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.
Stops unaspirated voiceless
t
ʈ
aspirated voiceless
ʈʰ
unaspirated voiced
ɖ
aspirated voiced
ɖʰ
Fricatives voiceless
ʃ
Affricates unaspirated voiceless
aspirated voiceless
tʃʰ
unaspirated voiced
aspirated voiced
dʒʰ
Nasals
..ɳ
ɲ
ŋ
Laterals
..ɭ
...
Flap or trill
ɽ
Approximant
ʋ
  • /ʃ/ = sh in shop
  • /tʃ/ = ch in chop
  • /dʒ/ = j in job
  • /ɲ/ =first n in canyon
  • /ŋ/ = ng in song
  • /ʋ/ is often realized as /v/
  • /j/ = y in yet

 

Stress
Stress in Marathi usually falls on the initial syllable of the word.

Grammar

Marathi grammar is very much like that of other Indo-Aryan languages such as HindiBengali, and Punjabi. Unlike these languages, however, Marathi is agglutinative, i.e., it adds suffixes to roots to build words and to express grammatical relations. Agglutination is one of the features of Dravidian languages.

Nouns
Marathi nouns are marked for the following grammatical categories:

  • number: singular and plural
  • gender: masculine, feminine, neuter
  • There are 7 cases: nominativegenitiveaccusativedativeinstrumentalablativelocative, and vocative. All cases, except the vocative, are marked by postpositions.
  • There are no definite or indefinite articles.
  • Adjectives do not inflect unless they end in long /a/, in which case they agree with nouns in gender, number, and case.

 

Verbs
Verbs can agree with their subjects in the active voice, or with their objects in the passive voice. Verbs are marked for the following categories:

 

Word order
The normal word order in Marathi is Subject – Object – Verb. Modifiers precede the nouns they modify. Indirect objects precede direct objects.

Vocabulary

The basic vocabulary of Marathi is Sanskrit in origin, but over the years Marathi has borrowed extensively from a number of other languages. The majority of loanwords came from PersianArabic and Turkish during the period of the Mughal rule, and later from Portuguese and English, e.g., baajaar from Persian bazaar ‘market’, baatata from Portuguese batata ‘potato’, khurchii ‘chair’ from Arabic kursi. In addition, Marathi has borrowed words from the neighboring Dravidian languages.

Below are a few basic phrases in Marathi script and in transliteration.

Hello

नमस्कार

Namaskar, dhanyawad
Goodbye Punhā bhe ţū.
Thank you आभारी आहे Aabhari ahe
Yes Ho
No Nāhī

 

The numerals 1-10 in Marathi are given below.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
ek
don
teen
char
pach
saha
saat
aath
nau
daha

Writing

The earliest evidence of written Marathi dates back to 700 AD. Marathi has a long literary history, starting with religious writings in the 12-13th centuries. The first English book was translated into Marathi in 1817, and the first Marathi newspaper appeared in 1835. Since 1950, Marathi has been written with the Devanagari alphabet which consists of 52 symbols (16 vowels and 36 consonants).

Take a look at Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Marathi in Devanāgarī and in romanization.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Marathi

Difficulty

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

15 Responses to Marathi

  1. suyog

    Sir,
    We there’s little correction.
    1)We say Namskar(नमस्कार) and not Namste(नमस्ते),Aabhari Ahe(आभारी आहे) and not Dhanyawad(धन्यवाद).
    2)Marathi is the only Indian language which has a cursive script sscript

     
    • suyog

      Called Modi(मोडी) Script.Modi is the own script of Marathi language and Devnagari is the borrowed one.

       
    • Irene Thompson

      Thank you for your comment.

       
    • Rajesh

      Namaste and saying dhanyawad is also very common practice

       
    • Rajesh

      Guys whatever Irene has written is based on compilation of data from various sources … a data analysis mtd. I highly appreciate his efforts on this.

       
  2. shrikrishna

    Devnagari is not a borrowed script, It is used to write Marathi even before Modi was invented. More over Modi, though mainly used for writting Marathi Kannada hindi were also written in Modi during Maratha rule.

     
  3. rohit

    There need some corrections in number line ( 0-10) you provided.
    Following are the correct pronunciation of numbers:
    1-ek
    2-don
    3-teen
    4-char
    5-pach
    6-saha
    7-saat
    8-aath
    9-nau
    10-daha

     
    • Irene Thompson

      Thank you very much for the helpful correction.

       
  4. Pranav

    Appreciate your efforts, Irene.Just small suggestion to make….Hindi,Bengali and Punjabi are not agglutinative but MARATHI is.This feature is also shared by Kannada/Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam languages in India.
    Further Marathi retains all three genders as in Sanskrit.

     
  5. Pranav

    Also would help to classify Marathi in terms of level of difficulty – A high III or level IV probably.

     
    • Irene Thompson

      One would assume that it has the same level of difficulty as Hindi

       
    • Irene Thompson

      I am not aware of any data on the difficulty of Marathi, but I am guessing that it should be comparable to that of Hindi.

       

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