Gondi language

Native to India
Ethnicity Gondi people
Native speakers
2.7 million (2001)[1]
  • South-Central

    • Gondi–Kui
      • Gondi
Gunjala Gondi Lipi
Gondi script
Devanagari, Telugu script (used in conjunction)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 gon
ISO 639-3 goninclusive code
Individual codes:
gno  Northern Gondi
esg  Aheri Gondi
wsg  Adilabad Gondi
Glottolog sout2711  (Southern Gondi)[2]
nort2702  (Northern Gondi)[3]

Gondi (Gōndi) is a South-Central Dravidian language, spoken by about two million Gond people,[4] chiefly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and in various adjoining areas of neighbouring states. Although it is the language of the Gond people, only about half of them still speak it. Gondi has a rich folk literature, examples of which are marriage songs and narrations.


Gondi has a two-gender system, substantives being either masculine or nonmasculine. Gondi departed from the parent Proto-Dravidian language by developing initial voiced stops (g, j, ḍ, d, b) and aspirated stops (dhh, gh, jh, dh, bh).


Most of the Gondi dialects are still inadequately recorded and described. The more important dialects are Dorla, Koya, Maria, Muria, and Raj Gond. Some basic phonologic features separate the northwestern dialects from the southeastern. One is the treatment of the original initial s, which is preserved in northern and western Gondi, while farther to the south and east it has been changed to h; in some other dialects it has been lost completely. Other dialectal variations in the Gondi language are the alteration of initial r with initial l and a change of e and o to a.


Main article: Gondi writing

Gondi writing can be split into two categories: that using non-native scripts and that using native scripts.

Traditionally, for lack of a widespread native script, Gondi has been written in Devanagari and Telugu script, which encompass the non-native scripts that have been used to write Gondi.

Efforts have been undertaken to create a native script for Gondi. In 1928, Munshi Mangal Singh Masaram designed a native script based on Brahmi characters and in the same format of an Indian alphasyllabary.[5] However, this script did not become widely used, and most Gonds remain illiterate.

According to Maharashtra Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre of India, a dozen manuscripts were found in this script. Programs to create awareness and promotion of this script among the Gondi people are in development stage.


  1. http://www.unesco.org/culture/languages-atlas/en/atlasmap/language-id-1586.html
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Southern Gondi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Northern Gondi". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Beine, David K. 1994. A Sociolinguistic Survey of the Gondi-speaking Communities of Central India. M.A. thesis. San Diego State University. chpt. 1
  5. Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Gondi Script in the UCS

Further reading

External links

Gondi language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator

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