Marathi is the language
spoken by the native
people of Maharashtra
, a state in west-central India
, with Bombay
(Mombai) as capital city
languages emerged from Sanskrit
. Marathi is said to have descended from Maharashtri
, the Prakrit
language spoken by the people of Maharashtra
It is clear that Marathi was in written use in the 11th Century, as stone inscription
s and the like can be found. One must assume that the language was being spoken by the people for centuries before this.
Marathi was the court language of the Yadava
kings. HemADpanta, a minister
in the court of the kings introduced a script
for the language in the 13th century - this script was called 'moDI' and was in use until the 18th century. It had the advantage of allowing the letters to be joined together for faster writing speed. The script currently used is 'bALbodh' - a modified version of the Devanagari
script. This is easier to read, but sacrifices the speed aspect.
There are two groups of vowels.
Group 1: a aa(A) i ii(I) u uu(U) e ai o au aM aH
Group 2: R^i R^I L^i L^I
R^I and L^I from group 2 are entirely extinct today and R^i and L^i are of very limited use.
There are in total 36 consonants. The first 25 are split into 5 groups of 5. The groups are based on the pronunciation of the letters. The last letter in each group has a nasal sound.
Group 1: k kh g gh N^
Group 2: ch chh j jh JN
Group 3: T Th D Dh N
Group 4: t th d dh n
Group 5: p ph b bh m
Letters in group 1 are pronounced from the throat, group 2 by touching the tongue to a part of the upper jaw between the roof and the teeth, group 3 by touching the tongue to the palate, group 4 touching the tongue to the teeth and group 5 by touching the lips together. An interesting note is that if the nose is blocked (by having a cold, for example), the fifth letter in each group is replaced by the third.
The remaining 11 consonants are:
y r l v sh shh s h L ksh GY/Dnya
Todays Marathi has been changed over the years as influences from other languages start to take hold. The languages spoken in the neighbouring states of Kannad
have lent many words to Marathi which are now in common use.
Marathi has also absorbed words from the many languages spoken by the rulers of India over the years. Words of Turkish
origin can all be found as well as variants of words from Portuguese
Obviously, lots of everyday words have been included from the British reign
of India. Words such as rubber, pencil, cake and boot are examples.