Bhojpuri language

Bhojpuri (/ˌbˈpʊəri/;[6] भोजपुरी ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the northern-eastern part of India and the Terai region of Nepal.[3] It is chiefly spoken in western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.[6][7] Sociolinguistically, Bhojpuri is considered one of the several Hindi dialects.[8] Fiji Hindi, an official language of Fiji, is a variant of Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Caribbean Hindustani is also a variant of Bhojpuri and Awadhi. Bhojpuri is one of the recognised official languages of Nepal. It is also a minority language in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, South Africa, and Mauritius.[9][10]

भोजपुरी (Bhōjpurī)  𑂦𑂷𑂔𑂣𑂳𑂩𑂲
The word "Bhojpuri" in Devanagari script
Native toIndia and Nepal
EthnicityBhojpuri people
Native speakers
51 million, partial count (2011 census)[1]
(additional speakers counted under Hindi)
  • Northern (Gorakhpuri, Sarawaria, Basti, Padrauna)
  • Western (Purbi, Benarsi)
  • Southern (Kharwari)
  • Nagpuria (Sadari)
  • Tharu Bhojpuri
  • Madheshi
  • Domra
  • Musahari
  • Caribbean Hindustani
     · Trinidadian Hindustani
    (Trinidadian Bhojpuri,
    Plantation Hindustani,
    Gaon ke Bolee)
     · Guyanese Hindustani
    (Aili Gaili)
     · Sarnami Hindoestani
  • Fiji Hindi
  • Mauritian Bhojpuri
  • South African Bhojpuri (Naitali)[2]
Perso-Arabic (Moribund)
Official status
Official language in
 Fiji (as the Fiji Hindi dialect)
Recognised minority
language in
 India (as a second language in Jharkhand)[4]
   Nepal (as a national regional language)
Language codes
ISO 639-2bho
ISO 639-3bho – inclusive code
Individual codes:
hns  Caribbean Hindustani
hif  Fiji Hindi

The variant of Bhojpuri of the Indo-Caribbean people is Caribbean Hindustani.[11] It has experienced considerable English lexical influence in Trinidad and Tobago and in Guyana, and it also experienced considerable Sranan Tongo Creole, Dutch, and English lexical influence in Suriname. In Mauritius, a distinctive dialect of Bhojpuri remains in use. The day-to-day usage of the language in Mauritius is dropping and today, it is spoken by approximately 5% of the population, according to the latest census.[12]

Geographic distribution

The Bhojpuri speaking region is bound by the Awadhi-speaking region to the west, Nepali speaking region to the north, Magahi- and Maithili-speaking regions to the east, and Magahi- and Bagheli-speaking regions to the south.[3]

Bhojpuri is a major language spoken in Nepal.[10]

In Bangladesh, there are also Bhojpuri-speaking Muslims. However, their total number is estimated to be smaller than the number of Bhojpuri speakers in Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji, and the Caribbean nations.

Outside South Asia

Bhojpuri is also spoken by descendants of people who were brought as indentured labourers in the 19th century and early 20th century, for work in plantations during British colonial era, to Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, other parts of the Caribbean, Jamaica, and South Africa.[9][10][13]

Countrywise Bhojpuri speakers in the world
Country Speakers
India 50,579,447
Nepal 1,584,958
Fiji 460,000
Suriname 75,000
Mauritius 66,893


The known dialects as per world language classification system, are Bhojpuri Tharu, Domra, Madhesi, Musahari, Northern Standard Bhojpuri (Basti, Gorakhpuri, Sarawaria), Southern Standard Bhojpuri (Kharwari), and Western Standard Bhojpuri (Benarsi, Purbi).[3]

Bhojpuri has the following dialects, the first three being the major dialects:[10]

  1. Southern Standard Bhojpuri
  2. Northern Standard Bhojpuri
  3. Western Standard Bhojpuri[14]
  4. Nagpuria Bhojpuri[15]

Southern Standard Bhojpuri is prevalent in the areas of Shahabad (Buxar, Bhojpur, Rohtas and Kaimur districts) and Saran region (Saran, Siwan and Gopalganj districts) in Bihar, and eastern Azamgarh (Ballia and Mau district) and Varanasi regions (eastern part of Ghazipur district) in Uttar Pradesh. It is sometimes referred to as "Kharwari". It can be further divided into "Shahabadi", "Chapariyah" and "Pachhimahi".[16]

Northern Bhojpuri is common in the areas of Gorakhpur division (Deoria, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur and Maharajganj districts) and Basti regions (Basti, Sidhartha Nagar and Sant Kabir Nagar districts) in Uttar Pradesh, western Tirhut region (east and west Champaran districts) in Bihar and other districts in Nepal.[17]

Western Bhojpuri is prevalent in the areas of Varanasi (Varanasi, Chandauli, Jaunpur and Western part of Ghazipur districts), Azamgarh (Azamgarh district) and Mirzapur regions (Mirzapur, Sant Ravidas Nagar and Bhadohi districts) in Uttar Pradesh. ‘Banarasi’ is a local name for the Banaras Bhojpuri. Western Bhojpuri is also referred to as "Purbi" or "Benarsi".[18]

Nagpuria Bhojpuri is southern most popular dialect, found in Chota Nagpur Plateau of Jharkhand, particularly parts of Palamau and of Ranchi. It has more Magahi influence.[15][17] It is sometimes referred to as "Sadari".[19]



Bhojpuri vowels[20]
Close i ɪu
Close-mid eəo
Open-mid ɔ
Open æɑ


Bhojpuri consonants[20]
Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Stop voiceless p ʈ k
voiced b ɖ ɡ
aspirated t̪ʰ ʈʰ tʃʰ
breathy voiced d̪ʱ ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
Fricative s h
Rhotic plain ɾ ɽ
aspirated ɾʱ ɽʱ
Approximant ʋ l j


Bhojpuri is, sociolinguistically, one of the seven Hindi languages (Haryanvi, Braj, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundeli, Bagheli and Kannauji).[8] Of these seven, Bhojpuri has the most allophonic variations in vowels.[21]

Robert Trammell has published the phonology of Bhojpuri.[20][22]

Bhojpuri has six vowel phonemes,[22] and ten vocoids. The higher vowels are relatively tense, while lower vowels are relatively lax. The language has 31 consonant phonemes and 34 contoids (6 bilabial, 4 apico-dental, 5 apico-alveolar, 7 retroflex, 6 alveo-palatal, 5 dorso-velar and 1 glottal).[20]

According to Trammell, the syllable system is peak type: every syllable has the vowel phoneme as the highest point of sonority. Codas may consist of one, two or three consonants. Vowels occur as simple peaks or as peak nuclei in diphthongs. The intonation system involves four pitch levels and three-terminal contours.[20][23]

Writing system

Bhojpuri was historically written in Kaithi scripts,[3] but since 1894, Devanagari has served as the primary script. Kaithi is rarely used presently.

Kaithi script was used for administrative purposes in the Mughal era for writing Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Maithili, Magahi and Hindustani from at least the 16th century up to the first decade of the 20th century. Government gazetteers report that Kaithi was used in a few districts of Bihar throughout the 1960s. Bhojpuri residents of India, who signed up and moved as indentured labour in Africa, Mauritius, Fiji, and the Caribbean colonies of the British Empire in 19th century and early 20th century, used Kaithi as well as Devanagari scripts.[9]

By 1894, official texts in Bihar were written in Kaithi and Devanagari. At present almost all Bhojpuri texts are written in Devanagari even in the overseas islands where Bhojpuri is spoken. For example, in Mauritius, both Kaithi and Devanagari scripts have been in use since the arrival of Bhojpuri people from India. The Kathi script was considered informal in Mauritius, with the structure of Kaithi similar to Devanagari (spelled Devanagri in Mauritius). In modern Mauritius, Bhojpuri script is Devanagari.[24]


Bhojpuri syntax and vocabulary reflect a three-tier system of politeness. Any verb can be conjugated as per these tiers. For example, the verb "to come" in Bhojpuri is "aana" and the verb "to speak" is "bolna." The imperatives "come!" and "speak!" can thus be conjugated in five ways, each marking subtle variation in politeness and propriety. These permutations exclude a host of auxiliary verbs and expressions which can be added to these verbs to add an even greater degree of subtle variation. For extremely polite or formal situations, the pronoun is generally omitted.

Literary [teh] āō[teh] bōl
Casual and intimate [tu] āō[tu] bōl
Polite and intimate [tum] āv'[tum] bōl'
Formal yet intimate [rau'ā] āīñ[rau'ā] bōlīñ
Polite and formal [āpne] āīñ[āp] bōlīñ
Extremely formal āwal jā'ebōlal jā'e

Similarly, adjectives are marked for politeness and formality. For example, "your" has several forms with different tones of politeness: "tum" (casual and intimate), "tōhār" (polite and intimate), "t'hār" (formal yet intimate), "rā'ur" (polite and formal) and "āpke" (extremely formal). Although there are many tiers of politeness, Bhojpuri speakers mainly use the form "tum" to address an individual who is younger and "aap" for individuals who are older than themselves or hold a higher position in the workplace situations.


There have been demands for greater official recognition of Bhojpuri, such as via its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.[25] In 2019, Bhojpuri was given second language status in the Jharkhand state of India.[26] It is official language of Nepal and Fiji as Fiji Hindi.

Bhojpuri is taught in matriculation and at higher secondary level in Bihar School Education Board and Board of High School and Intermediate Education Uttar Pradesh. It is also taught in various universities of India, such as Veer Kunwar Singh University,[27] Banaras Hindu University,[28] and Nalanda Open University,[29] Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University.[30]


Lorikayan, or the story of Veer Lorik, is famous Bhojpuri folklore of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.[31] Bhikhari Thakur's Bidesiya is another famous book. Phool Daliya is a well-known book by freedom fighter Prasiddh Narayan Singh "Prasiddh". It is a collection of several poems in Bhojpuri of "veer ras" mainly on the theme of "azaadi", his experiences of jail post Quit India movement and India's struggle with poverty immediately after independence.


Many Bhojpuri magazines and papers are published in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. There are several Bhojpuri newspapers available in local regions of northern India without any online presence because they are not wealthy enough to publish on online platforms. The names of the newspapers are in Bhojpuri essence. The newspapers are printed in Bhojpuri pronunciation and attracts the majority readers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. Parichhan is a contemporary literary-cultural Maithili-Bhojpuri magazine, published by Maithili-Bhojpuri academy, Delhi government and edited by Parichay Das. The Sunday Indian, Bhojpuri[32] is a regular national news magazine in Bhojpuri. Aakhar is a monthly online Bhojpuri literature magazine.[33] Other media in Bhojpuri include Lok Lucknow,[34] Mahuaa TV and Hamar TV are Bhojpuri language channels.

Common words


English Bhojpuri (Latin script) भोजपुरी (देवनागरी लिपि; Devanagari script)
Sunday Eitwaar एतवार
Monday Somaar सोमार
Tuesday Mangar मंगर
Wednesday Budhh बुध
Thursday Bifey बियफे
Friday Sook सूक
Saturday Sanichar सनिचर

Common Phrases

English Bhojpuri भोजपुरी
Hello Raam Raam / Parnaam राम राम / परणाम
Welcome/Please come in Aain na आईं ना
How are you? Ka haal ba? / kaisan hava? का हाल बा? / कइसन हवऽ?
I'm good. And you? Hum theek baani. Aur rauwa? / Hum theek hain Aur aap? हम ठीक बानी। अउर रउवा? / हम ठीक हई। अउर आप?
What is your name? Tohaar naav ka ha? तोहार नाँव का ह?
My name is ... Hamar naav ... ha हमार नाँव ... ह
What's up? Kaa hot aa? का होताऽ?
I love you Hum tohse pyaar kare ni / Hum tohra se pyaar kare ni हम तोहसे प्यार करे नी / हम तोहरा से प्यार करे नी

Example text

The following is Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri, Hindi, Caribbean Hindustani, and English:[35]

अनुच्छेद १: सबहि लोकानि आजादे जन्मेला आउर ओखिनियो के बराबर सम्मान आओर अधिकार प्राप्त हवे। ओखिनियो के पास समझ-बूझ आउर अंत:करण के आवाज होखता आओर हुनको के दोसरा के साथ भाईचारे के बेवहार करे के होखला।[35]

अनुच्छेद १: सभी मनुष्यों को गौरव और अधिकारों के मामले में जन्मजात स्वतन्त्रता और समानता प्राप्त हैं। उन्हें बुद्धि और अन्तरात्मा की देन प्राप्त है और परस्पर उन्हें भाईचारे के भाव से बर्ताव करना चाहिये।[36]

Aadhiaai 1: Sab djanne aadjádi aur barabar paidaa bhailèn, iddjat aur hak mê. Ohi djanne ke lage sab ke samadj-boedj aur hierdaai hai aur doesare se sab soemmat sè, djaane-maane ke chaahin.[37]

Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.[38]

See also


  1. "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  3. Bhojpuri Ethnologue World Languages (2009)
  4. Sudhir Kumar Mishra (22 March 2018). "Bhojpuri, 3 more to get official tag". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018.
  5. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bhojpuric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. Bhojpuri entry, Oxford Dictionaries Archived 8 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Oxford University Press
  7. Ethnologue's detailed language map Archived 16 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine of western Madhesh; see the disjunct enclaves of language #9 in SE.
  8. Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17–21 August 2011, pp 1390
  9. Rajend Mesthrie, Language in indenture: a sociolinguistic history of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa, Routledge, 1992, ISBN 978-0415064040, pages 30-32
  10. Bhojpuri Archived 25 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Language Materials Project, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  11. Hindustani, Caribbean Archived 13 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ethnologue (2013)
  12. William J. Frawley, International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Volume 1, ISBN 0-19-513977-1, Oxford University Press, Bhojpuri, page 481
  13. "Forced Labour". The National Archives, Government of the United Kingdom. 2010. Archived from the original on 4 December 2016.
  14. Parable of the prodigal son in Benares Bhojpuri Archived 8 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, A Recording in May 1920 by Rajaji Gupta, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  15. Parable of the prodigal son in Nagpuria Bhojpuri Archived 8 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine, A Recording in 1920 by Shiva Sahay Lal, Linguistic Survey of India, Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, USA
  16. Map of Southern Standard Bhojpuri Archived 1 March 2014 at Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  17. Shaligram Shukla (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Georgetown University School of Language, ISBN 978-0878401895
  18. Western Standard Bhojpuri Archived 1 March 2014 at Digital Library of Language Relationships (2012)
  19. Monika Horstmann (1969), Sadari, Indologia Berolinensis, Otto Harrassowitz - Wiesbaden, Germany, pp 176-180
  20. Trammell, Robert L. (1971). "The Phonology of the Northern Standard Dialect of Bhojpuri". Anthropological Linguistics. 13 (4): 126–141. JSTOR 30029290.
  21. Diwakar Mishra and Kalika Bali, A COMPARATIVE PHONOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE DIALECTS OF HINDI Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine, ICPhS XVII, Hong Kong, 17–21 August 2011, pp 1390-1393
  22. Verma, Manindra K. (2003), Bhojpuri, In Cardona et al. (Editors), The Indo-Aryan Languages, 515-537. London: Routledge
  23. Shukla, Shaligram (1981), Bhojpuri Grammar, Washington, D. C., Georgetown University Press
  24. Sarita Boodho, Bhojpuri traditions in Mauritius, Mauritius Bhojpuri Institute, 1999, ISBN 978-9990390216, pages 47-48 and 85-92
  25. "Chidambaram speaks a surprise". Chennai, India. The Hindu. 17 May 2012. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  26. "Jharkhand gives second language status to Magahi, Angika, Bhojpuri and Maithili". Avenue Mail. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  27. "Bhojpuri". Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  28. "Banaras Hindu University, Faculty of Arts, bhojpuri addhyan kendra Varanasi". Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  29. "Bhojpuri in NOU" (PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  31. Auty, Robert (4 December 1969). Traditions of heroic and epic poetry. ISBN 9780900547720. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  32. "Today Bhojpuri Newspaper Update Headlines India- The Sunday Indian Online Magazine - The Sunday Indian". Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  33. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  35. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Archived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Bhojpuri language (United Nations)
  36. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Hindi language (United Nations)
  37. UDHR Sárnami - "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 May 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  38. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Archived 3 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine English language (United Nations)
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