Orissa: languages and dialects


There are various languages spoken in the state of Orissa. Oriya is the largest spoken language and also the State language of Orissa. There are many Local language of Orissa other than Oriya such as Baleswari, Bhatri, Laria, Sambalpuri, Ganjami, Chhatisgarhi, medinipuri, etc. Unique versions of Oriya are spoken by people of northern and southern hilly regions. Many Sanskrit inscriptions are found matching with many Oriya words and individual characters.

In the bigger towns and cities, Hindi is understood and spoken as well as English.


Oriya is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language that is primarily spoken in the Indian state of Orissa. It is recognized as one of the official languages of India and over 33 million people speak Oriya. It is derived from Sanskrit and other languages similar to Oriya include Bangla, Assamese, Maithili, Magahi, and Bhojpuri. Indian states such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat also include a significant amount of Oriya speakers. Specifically in the city of Surat, Gujarat there is a significant Oriya community due to immigration works in the diamond polishing and textile industries.

Oriya has several dialects, which include:

Mughalbandi: Considered the standard, most formal

Sambalpuri: Spoken in the districts of Sambalpur, Sundergarh, Kalahandi, Bolangir, and

Bauda Bhatri: a transitional dialect

The following dialects and variations of the language are spoken in various area of the state. These languages sound familiar with Oriya more than they do with other mixed up languages. They are as followings:


Kosli is an ancient language and it is one of the five Prakrit languages existing since Vedic era along with Sanskrit. However, some recent research done at Sambalpur University claims Kosli as a distinct language . A large area encompassing the western part of Odisha popularly known as Kosal region; Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Balangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Boud, Phulbani and Northern Koraput regions; parts of Chattisgarh; Bhatri region of Bastar district, and from eastern part of Debhog, Phuljhar, Raigarh, Sarangarh to Jashpur uses Kosli as its mother tongue. Out of the  total population of Odisha (36706920) about two crore population uses Kosli according to 2001 census.


It is an East Indian language and possibly a dialect of Oriya that is mostly used in the tribal areas of Orissa state. It is considered as indo—European language.

Kupia is indo Aryan language that is closely related to Oriya. It is mostly spoken by Valmiki people residing in Orissa, Telangana and Andhra. Valmiki peoples are tribal group residing in southeastern India.
Bodo Praja: 

It is also known as Jharia language. It is mainly spoken in odisha by adivasi peoples.



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