from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marathi (मराठी)

Spoken in

India ( Maharashtra and neighboring states)
speaker 83 million
Official status
Official language in India , Maharashtra state
Language codes
ISO 639 -1


ISO 639 -2


ISO 639-3


Marathi (मराठी marāṭhī [ mə'ɾa: ʈʰi: ]) is an Indo-European language that is the mother tongue of at least 83 million people , most of whom live in India . It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian subgroup of the Indo-European languages .

It is one of the 22 officially recognized languages ​​of India and belongs to the group of the 20 most spoken languages ​​in the world. It is written in Devanagari .

Marathi has a long literary history. It is the language of the Indian state of Maharashtra and, like many other languages ​​in India, is derived from ancient Indian . It split off from the other languages ​​of its group probably 1,000 years ago.

Distribution and number of speakers

Spreading the Marathi

The distribution area of ​​the Marathi largely coincides with the Indian state of Maharashtra , whose borders were drawn in 1960 along the language border of the Marathi. Marathi is the official language in the state of Maharashtra. In addition, it is recognized as one of 22 constitutional languages ​​in India on a supraregional level .

According to the 2011 Indian census, Marathi is spoken by 83 million people as their first language. This makes Marathi the Indian language with the third most speakers after Hindi and Bengali . Around 77 million Marathi speakers live in Maharashtra, where they make up a good two thirds of the population. Larger Marathi-speaking minorities can also be found in the neighboring federal states of Karnataka (2.1 million), Madhya Pradesh (1.2 million), Gujarat (0.9 million), Andhra Pradesh (0.7 million) and Goa (0.2 million) .


Dialects of Marathi are Ahirani and Manadeshi . The closely related Konkani , originally a dialect of Marathi, is now counted as a separate language that has official status in India.


Marathi has partly retained the locative case in the noun declination:

prabhaat: twilight grha: house
prabhaate: in the twilight grhe: in the house
pahaat: twilight ghar: house
pahaate: at dusk ghari: in the house

Writing system

Marathi uses the Devanagari script .

The earliest evidence of written Marathi was found on a thousand year old gigantic statue in the city of Shrawana-belagola in southern India. The inscription is about King Gangaraya , who financed the company, and his general Chamundaraya , who erected the statue for the king.


Marathi has a long literary tradition. An extensive literature has emerged on Marathi over the past seven centuries. The holy poet Dnyaneshwar is considered the first major Marathi writer. Prominent contemporary authors include Purushottam Laxman Deshpande , Jaywant Dalawi , Vasant Purushottam Kale , Vyankatesh Digambar Madgulkar , Dattaram Maruti Mirasdar , Kiran Nagarkar, and Malika Amar Sheikh .


  • Colin P. Masica: The Indo-Aryan Languages . Cambridge University Press, 1991, ISBN 0-521-23420-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Census of India 2011: Data on Language and Mother Tongue. Part A: Distribution of the 22 scheduled languages-India / States / Union Territories - 2011 census.