Sambalpuri language

Sambalpuri is an Indo-Aryan language variety spoken in western Odisha, India. It is alternatively known as Western Odia, and as Kosali (with variants Kosli, Koshal and Koshali),[5] a recently popularised but controversial term, which draws on an association with the historical region of Dakshina Kosala, whose territories also included the present-day Sambalpur region.[6][7]

Western Odia
'Sambalpuri' in Odia script
Native toIndia
RegionWestern Odisha
Native speakers
2.63 million (2011 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3spv
Glottologsamb1325  Sambalpuri
west2384  Western Oriya
Sambalpuri speaking areas(dialect continuum in green) in Odisha and Chhattisgarh
A Sambalpuri speaker speaking three languages, recorded in China.

Its speakers usually perceive it as a separate language, while outsiders have seen it as a dialect of Odia,[8] and standard Odia is used by Sambalpuri speakers for formal communication.[9] A 2006 survey of the varieties spoken in four villages found out that they share three-quarters of their basic vocabulary with Standard Odia.[10]

Geographical DistributionEdit

Core variant spoken in Sambalpur (excluding Rairakhol subdivision), Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Subarnapur and Balangir districts. Also spoken in parts of Nuapada and western parts of Boudh districts and in neighbouring districts of Chhattisgarh.[11][12]


The inscriptions and literary works from the Western Odisha region used the Odia script, which is attested through the inscriptions like the Stambeswari stone inscription of 1268 CE laid by the Eastern Ganga monarch Bhanu Deva I at Sonepur and the Meghla grant and Gobindpur charter of Raja Prithvi Sing of Sonepur State[13] and also through the major epic Kosalananda Kavya composed during the 17th century Chauhan rule under Raja Baliar Singh of the Sambalpur State, which was written in Sanskrit in Odia script.[14]

The Devanagari script was likely used when the undivided Sambalpur district was part of Central Provinces of the British Raj during the late 19th century where Hindi was used as an official language. With the commencement of publications in 1891 in the magazine 'Sambalpur Hiteisani'[15] and the subsequent merger of the Sambalpur region with the then Orissa division of Bengal province following the Partition of Bengal (1905), the Odia script become established and is currently the script used in literature and publications.[16]


Sambalpuri has 28 consonant phonemes, 2 semivowel phonemes and 5 vowel phonemes.[17]

Sambalpuri vowel phonemes
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e (o)
Low a ɔ

There are no long vowels in Sambalpuri just like Standard Odia.

Sambalpuri consonant phonemes
Labial Alveolar
Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n
voiceless p t ʈ k
voiceless aspirated ʈʰ tʃʰ
voiced b d ɖ ɡ
voiced aspirated ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
Fricative s ɦ
Trill/Flap ɾ ɽ~ɽʰ
Lateral approximant l
Approximant w j

Sambalpuri shows loss of retroflex consonants like retroflex unaspirated nasal(voiced retroflex nasal) ɳ () and voiced retroflex lateral approximant [ɭ] () which are present in Standard Odia.


The following is a list of features and comparison with Standard Odia:[18][19]

Some key features include-

  • r-insertion Insertion at the end of Sambalpuri Verbs- Paragogue(addition of a sound at the end of the word).
  • Word Medial Vowel Deletion- Syncope. But exceptions seen in -ai diphthongs.
  • Vowel Harmony- o to u phoneme shift. This is also seen in Baleswari Odia dialect.
  • Word Final Vowel Deletion(Schwa deletion)- Apocope.

Word Medial Vowel Deletion- Syncope

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ପଢ଼ିବା (paṛibā) padhibā ପଢ଼୍‌ବାର୍ (paṛbār) padhbār to study
ଗାଧେଇବା (gādheibā) ଗାଧ୍‌ବାର୍ (gādhbār) to bath
ହସିବା (hasibā) ହସ୍‌ବାର୍ (hasbār) to laugh
ବୁଲିବା (bulibā) ବୁଲ୍‌ବାର୍ (bulbār) to roam
ରାନ୍ଧିବା (rāndhibā) ରାନ୍ଧ୍‌ବାର୍ (rāndhbār) to cook
ଖେଳିବା (kheḷibā) ଖେଲ୍‌ବାର୍ (khelbār) to play

Excpetions to Word Medial Vowel Deletion- seen in '-ai' diphthongs

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ଖାଇବା (khāibā) ଖାଏବାର୍ (khāebār) to eat
ଗାଇବା (gāibā) ଗାଏବାର୍ (gāebār) to sing
ପାଇବା (pāibā) ପାଏବାର୍ (pāebār) to get
ହାଇ (hāi) ହାଇ (hāi) yawn
ଗାଇ (gāi) ଗାଏ (gāe) cow

Vowel Harmony- 'o' to 'u' phoneme shift, feature also seen in Baleswari Odia dialect

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ସୋଇବା (soibā) ସୁଇବାର୍ (suibār) to sleep
ଖୋଜିବା (khojibā) ଖୁଜ୍‌ବାର୍ (khujbār) to search

Lengthening of Vowel Sound- vowels when appear in between consonants take their longer counterpart

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ପାଣି (pāṇi) ପାଏନ୍ (pāen) water
ଚାରି (cāri) ଚାଏର୍ (cāer) four

Consonant shift- shift of 'ṇ' and 'ḷ' phonemes to 'n' and 'l'

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ଫଳ (phaḷa) ଫଲ୍ (phal) fruit

Word Final Vowel Deletion(Schwa deletion Apocope)- a characteristic feature of Sambalpuri

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ଭଲ (bhala) ଭଲ୍ (bhal) good
ବାଘ (bāgha) ବାଘ୍ (bāgh) tiger
କୁକୁର (kukura) କୁକୁର୍ (kukur) dog
ଲୋକ (loka) ଲୋକ୍ (lok) people
ଗଛ (gacha) ଗଛ୍ (gach) tree
ଫୁଲ (phula) ଫୁଲ୍ (phul) flower
ଭାତ (bhāta) ଭାତ୍ (bhāt) rice
ଘର (ghara) ଘର୍ (ghar) house

Sambalpuri words

Standard Odia Sambalpuri Meaning
ମାଛ (mācha) ଝୁରି (jhuri) fish
ବାଣ (bāṇa) ଫଟ୍କା (phatka) firecracker

Language movementEdit

There has been a language movement campaigning for the recognition of the language. Its main objective has been the inclusion of the language into the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution.[20][21]


The first Sambalpuri writing appeared in the year 1891 in the weekly magazine 'Sambalpur Hiteisani' published from Debagarh.[22] It was titled "Sambalpur Anchalar Praachin Kabitaa", written by"Madhusudan".[citation needed] Then,

  • Jatan- Bhulaaman Chautisaa (1900–10).
  • Chaitan Das- Chadhei Chautisaa (1900–10).
  • Baalaaji Meher- Gundiaa, Gaud Gaman, Kumbhaar Pasraa, Sunari Pasaraa (1910–20).
  • Lakshman Pati- Aadi Bandanaa, Munush Baran, Maaejhi Baran, Bhuliaa Pasaraa, Kanrraa Pasaraa, Kharraa Pasaraa, Teli Pasaraa, Sabar leelaa (1910–20).
  • Kapil Mahaapaatar- Gaunliaa Raamaayana (1925–30).[citation needed]

In this way, between 1891 and 1947, a total of 35 poets wrote 64 poems only.[23] The period up to 1891 A.D. can be termed as the dark age in the history of Sambalpuri literature. From 1891 to 1970 can be termed as the infant stage of Sambalpuri literature as very few Sambalpuri literature was produced during this period. Only after 1970 there was an awakening to develop the language. Satya Narayan Bohidar was the first man who not only created Sambalpuri literature but also encouraged others to write in Sambalpuri. He also proved in many literary forums that Sambalpuri is a separate language[citation needed]. From 1970 onwards people of Western Orissa realized that Sambalpuri is a separate language[citation needed] and literature can be produced in this language. More and more people engaged themselves in creating Sambalpuri literature. A brief account of the contribution of Samalpuri writers, whose contribution has enriched Samalpuri literature is given here. It is neither feasible nor desirable to give an exhaustive list of writers and books of Sambalpuri. Only those writers, whose work have boosted the development of Sambalpuri literature or enhanced the image of Sambalpuri literature is mentioned below.

  • Satya Narayan Bohidar (1913–80)– His first poem 'Anubhuti' was published in 1931. He wrote 119 poems and one short Sambalpuri grammar book, 'Sankhipta Samalpuri Vyakaran'.[24]
  • Pundit Prayag Dutt Joshi (1913–96)- A well-known name in language and literature movement. He was the first serious scholar who attempted a linguistic study of the language. In fact, it was Joshi, who so emphatically announced that the language of the region was not Odia, but an independent language. Till his death he was not only producing seminal essays on uniqueness of Kosli Bhasa and literature but also promoted many amateur Kosli writers and poets. He was also among those who for the first time in 1986, submitted a memorandum to the President of India to include Kosli under Eighth Schedule. His small booklet Kosli Bhasar Samkhipta Parichay is considered as a sacred text by Kosli writers as well as leaders of the Kosal movement.
  • Khageswar Seth– Paerchha Sati (1949).
  • Indramani Sahu (1923–2006)– He wrote Jharmali (1953), Kosali Ramayan (1997)[citation needed]
  • Nil Madhab Panigrahi– A strong proponent of Sambalpuri, He gave up writing Odia for his love for mother tongue, Sambalpuri[citation needed]. He founded, published and edited 'Nisan', a Sambalpuri literary magazine which popularized Sambalpuri and generated many Sambalpuri writers. He founded 'Nisan Sahitya Sansad' and undertook the work of publishing Sambalpuri books written by others. His famous work is 'Mahabharat Katha', the translation of Mahabharat in Sambalpuri.[25] He co-authored "Samalpuri – Kosali Vyakaran" book with Prafulla Kumar Tripathy.
  • Prafulla Kumar Tripathy– He compiled the book 'Samalpuri Oriya Shabdakosha' (1987), a Sambalpuri to Odia Dictionary. He is a celebrated figure in Oriya and Sambalpuri literature and grammar. He has also received Sahitya Academy Puraskar for his collection of Odia short stories, 'Nija Singhasana'. Settled in Bhubaneswar, he continues to work towards getting Sambalpuri an official status. He has also co-authored 'Samalpuri Oriya Vyakaran' book with Nil Madhab Panigrahi.
  • Prem Ram Dubey– To popularize Sambalpuri, he published 'Hame Kosali Hamar Bhasa Kosali', a Sambalpuri literary magazine and 'Kosal Khabar' a news based magazine. He wrote many articles in these magazines[citation needed].
  • Hema Chandra Acharya (1926–2009)– His works include 'Satar Sati Brundavati', 'Kathani Sat Satani', 'Ram Raha' (2001). Ram Raha is the Sambalpuri version of the Raamayana. He has also written a novel 'Nuni'. He is popular among the masses as the 'Kosal Balmiki' for his Ram Raha[citation needed].
  • Mangalu Charan Biswal (1935-) – He wrote many Sambalpuri plays, among which 'Bhukha' is famous, as it was filmed and earned many awards.[26]
  • Haldhar Nag (1950-)– He is a God's gift to Sambalpuri.[27] He has written many Sambalpuri poems, such as 'Mahasati Urmila', 'Achhia', etc. His works has been compiled into 'Lokakabi Haladhar Granthabali'[28] and "Surata". He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.[29]
  • Binod Pasayat- 'Kayan Baetha' (1973).
  • Dolgobind Bisi– He published a Sambalpuri literary magazine 'Kosalshree' and wrote 'Kosali Bhasha Sundari' (1984). He published the 'Kosali Ramayan' written by Sri Indramani Sahu.
  • Nimai Charan Panigrahi– He has written many books including 'Bhugale Bakhani', 'Kham Khamalo' etc. His articles 'Kosali Sabad Jharan', published in 'Bharni', in Kosali literary magazine was very famous.
  • Chinmaya Kumar Pujar([1]କୁମାର ଚିନ୍ମୟ )[30](1963 -2013)- He has been the editor and publisher for Kosali book called " kathani ( କଥାନି )" and has written a number of stories in Sambalpuri, most famous being rampat (ରାମପାଟ).[31]
  • Harekrishna Meher- He has translated the Meghaduta of Kalidas to 'Sambalpuri Meghaduta'.[32]
  • Surama Mishra- She has written a children book 'Titi Tian'.[33] The book is popular among the children of western Odisha.
  • Pradyumna Bisi- 'Jharjhari' a Sambalpuri kaabya in which the poet represent a woman as a brook & brook also as women, their way of living are same. The book published in 2014.
  • Pragnya Patnaik- She has written 'Ranga – Sambalpuri Kathani' which is a collection of contemporary short stories in Sambalpuri. Hailed by critics as first of its kind in the language, the book is regarded as a gem with high literary merit. Her stories have unfailingly struck a chord among the readers.[citation needed]


Below is a list of magazines published in the Sambalpuri:

  • Jugar
  • Kahar
  • Mahak
  • Sambalpur darshan
  • Hakua- Bolangir- Editor- Himanshu Padhi
  • Kosal Pradesh, Sonepur, Editor: Gorekhnath Sahu.
  • Beni, Bargarh,Editor: Saket Sahu.
  • Suna Bahen, Jagatsinghpur, Editor: Bijay Kr. Mohapatra.
  • Srijana Salita Nabaneeta, Balangir, Editor: Rajesh Jhankar.
  • The Kadho, Balangir, Editor: Kshirodra Kumar Sahu.
  • Koshal Ratna :- Prayagdatta Joshi(RajKhariar)[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sambalpuri". Ethnologue.
  2. ^ Bulletin of the Anthropological Survey of India. Director, Anthropological Survey of India, Indian Museum. 1979.
  3. ^ Chitrasen Pasayat (1998). Tribe, Caste, and Folk Culture. Rawat Publications.
  4. ^ Subodh Kapoor (2002). The Indian Encyclopaedia: La Behmen-Maheya. Cosmo Publications. pp. 4240–. ISBN 978-81-7755-271-3.
  5. ^ Sambalpuri language at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  6. ^ Dash 1990, pp. 4–5.
  7. ^ G. Sahu 2001, pp. 7–8.
  8. ^ G.K. Sahu 2002, pp. 1–2.
  9. ^ Patel (n.d.) cited in Mathai & Kelsall (2013, p. 3)
  10. ^ Mathai & Kelsall 2013, pp. 4–6. The precise figures are 75–76%. This was based on comparisons of 210-item wordlists.
  11. ^ "C-16 Population By Mother Tongue". Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General.
  12. ^ "C-16 Population By Mother Tongue". Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General.
  13. ^ Pabitra Mohan Nayak (2011), Inscriptions of Orissa: With Special Reference to Subarnapur, Readworthy, pp. 1, 14, 19, retrieved 14 March 2021
  14. ^ Ashok kumar Patnaik (December 2009), The Mirror Reflection of Sambalpur State through the Courtly Chronicle called Kosalananda Kavyam, Odisha History Congress, p. 237, retrieved 12 March 2021
  15. ^ Sambalpur Hiteishini, Vol III, Issue 1500, 1891.
  16. ^ Mathai & Kelsall 2013, p. 3.
  17. ^ Mahapatra, B.P. (2002). Linguistic Survey of India: Orissa (PDF). Kolkata, India: Language Division, Office of the Registrar General. p. 67,68. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  18. ^ Dash, Suhasini (2019), Phonological Variations between Odia and Sambalpuri Optimality Theoretic Approach (PDF)
  19. ^ Pany, Debiprasad (2019), A Descriptive Study of Standard Dialect and Western Dialect of Odia Language in Terms of Linguistic Items, IJTSRD
  20. ^ Plea to include Kosli in 8th Schedule of Constitution
  21. ^ Memorandum for Inclusion of Kosli Language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution
  22. ^ Sambalpur Hiteishini, Vol III, Issue 1500, 1891.
  23. ^ Panda, Sasanka Sekhar, " JHULPUL ", Chitrotpala Publications, Cuttack, 2003, ISBN 81-86556-33-8
  24. ^ "Satya Narayan Granthabali", compiler – Shyam Sunder Dhar, Friends Emporium, Sambalpur, 2001.
  25. ^ Panigrahi, Nil Madhab, "Mahabharat Katha", Lark books, Bhubaneswar, 1996, ISBN 81-7375-023-8.
  26. ^ Biswal, Mangalu Charan, "Bhukha", Saraswat Pustak Bhandar, Sambalpur,1984
  27. ^ Poetry makes him known as new Gangadhar Meher-Peanut seller Haladhar Nag carves niche for himself as poet of Kosali language
  28. ^ Nag, Haldhar, "Lokakabi Haladhar Granthabali", compiler – Dwarikanath Nayak, Bidya Prakashan, Cuttack, 2000, ISBN 81-7703-009-4 (Five PhD theses on this class III-dropout poet)
  29. ^ 5 PhD theses on this class III-dropout poet
  30. ^ "କବିଙ୍କ ବାବଦରେ କିଛି". (ସ୍ବର୍ଗତ) କବି କୁମାର ଚିନ୍ମୟ. 16 July 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  31. ^ skpujari, Author (18 July 2017). "ରାମପାଟ". (ସ୍ବର୍ଗତ) କବି କୁମାର ଚିନ୍ମୟ. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  32. ^ Harekrishna Meher's 'SambalpuriMeghaduta' released
  33. ^ Sambalpurie-Book Titi Tian for children launched


  • Dash, Ashok Kumar (1990). Evolution of Sambalpuri language and its morphology (Thesis). Sambalpur University. hdl:10603/187859.
  • Mathai, Eldose K.; Kelsall, Juliana (2013). Sambalpuri of Orissa, India: A Brief Sociolinguistic Survey (Report). SIL Electronic Survey Reports.
  • Patel, Kunjaban (n.d.). A Sambalpuri phonetic reader (Thesis). Sambalpur University.
  • Sahu, Gobardhan (2001). Generative phonology of Sambalpuri: a study (revised) (PhD). Sambalpur University. hdl:10603/187791.
  • Sahu, Gopal Krishna (2002). A derivational morphology of Sambalpuri (Thesis). Sambalpur University. hdl:10603/187186.

External links and further readingEdit