Oriya is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages|Indo-Aryan language family. It is thought to be directly descended from a Magadhi Prakrit similar to Ardha Magadhi, which was spoken in eastern India over 1,500 years ago, and is the primary language used in early Jain texts. Oriya appears to have had relatively little influence from Persian and Arabic, compared to other major North Indian languages.
The history of the Oriya language is divided into:
- Old Oriya (7th century-1200): The origin of the Oriya literature can be traced to "Bauddha Gana O Doha", otherwise known as Charyapada written by the Buddhist Siddhas of Orissa. The Oriya language begins to appear in inscriptions with Oriya scripts in temples, copper plates, palm-leaf manuscripts etc. Traces of Oriya words and expressions have been found in inscriptions dating from the 7th century AD. For example, the Oriya word କୁମ୍ଭାର /kumbha:rɔ/ ‘potter’ occurs in a copperplate inscription ‘belonging to a date not later than the 7th century AD’. Similarly, in inscriptions of 991 AD, Oriya words like ଭିତୁରୁ /bhituru/ ‘from inside’ and ପନ୍ଦର /pɔndɔrɔ/ ‘fifteen’ can be found. ‘An Oriya script|Oriya Passage’ also has been found in another inscription of about 715 AD.
- Early Middle Oriya (1200–1400): The earliest use of prose can be found in the Madala Panji or the Palm-leaf Chronicles of the Jagannatha temple at Puri, which date back to the 12th century.
- Middle Oriya (1400–1700): Mahabharat, Chandi Puran, Vilanka Ramayan of Shudramuni Sarala Das. Arjuna Das, a contemporary to Sarala Dasa, wrote Rama-Bibha, a significant long poem in Oriya. Towards the 16th century, five poets emerged, though there are hundreds year gap in between them. But they are known as Panchasakha's as they believed to same school of thought, Utkaliya Vaishnavism. The poets are Balaram Das, Jagannath Das, Achyutananda Das, Ananta Das and Jasobanta Das.
- Late Middle Oriya (1700–1850): Usabhilasa of Sisu Sankara Das, the Rahasya-manjari of Deva-durlabha Dasa and the Rukmini-bibha of Kartikka Das were written. A new form of novels in verse evolved during the beginning of the 17th century when Ramachandra Pattanayaka wrote Haravali. Upendra Bhanja took a leading role in this period, his creations were Baidehisha Bilasa, Koti Brahmanda Sundari, Lavanyabati were proved landmark in Oriya Literature. Dinakrushna Das’s Rasokallola and Abhimanyu samanta Simhara’s Bidagdha Chintamani are prominent Kavyas of this time. Four major poets emerged in the end of the era are Kabi surya Baladeb Rath, Santha Kabi or Andha Muni Bhima Bhoi, Brajanath Badajena and Gopal Krushna Pattanaik.
- Modern Oriya (1850 till present day): The first Oriya printing typeset was cast in 1836 by the Christian missionaries which made a great revolutions in Oriya literature and language.
Ancient Form of Oriya Language in 2nd Century BC Rock edict King Ashoka
The script in the edicts of Ashoka in 2nd century BC at Dhauli and Jaugada and the inscriptions of Kharavela in Hati Gumpha of Khandagiri give us the first glimpse of possible origin of Oriya language. From the point of view of language, the inscriptions of Hati Gumpha are near modern Oriya and essentially different from the language of the Ashokan edicts. A point has also been made as to whether Pali was the prevalent language in Orissa during this period. The Hathigumpha inscription|Hati Gumpha inscriptions, which are in Pali, are perhaps the only evidence of stone inscriptions in Pali. This may be the reason why the German linguist Prof. Hermann Oldenberg mentioned that Pali was the original language of Orissa.
Traces of Oriya words and expressions have been found in inscriptions dating from the 7th century AD. For example, the Oriya word କୁମ୍ଭାର /kumbha:rɔ/ ‘potter’ occurs in a copperplate inscription ‘belonging to a date not later than the 7th century AD’. Similarly, in inscriptions of 991 AD, Oriya words like ଭିତୁରୁ /bhituru/ ‘from inside’ and ପନ୍ଦର /pɔndɔrɔ/ ‘fifteen’ can be found. ‘An Oriya Passage’ also has been found in another inscription of about 715 AD.File:East-Hem 200ad.jpg|thumb|Eastern Hemisphere in 200 AD.
Charyapada of 8th Century and its affinity with Oriya language
The beginnings of Oriya poetry coincide with the development of Charya Sahitya, the literature thus started by Mahayana Buddhist poets. This literature was written in a specific metaphor named “Sandhya Bhasha” and the poets like Luipa, Kanhupa are from the territory of Orissa. The language of Charya was considered as Prakrita.
Paduma (Padma:Lotus), Chowshathi (64), Pakhudi (petals) Tahin (There), Chadhi (rise) nachao (to dance) Dombi (a female of Orissa from untouchable caste), Bapudi (a very colloquial Oriya language to apply as 'poor fellow').
Poet Jayadeva's literary contribution
Jayadeva was a Sanskrit poet. He was born in an Utkala Brahmin family of Puri in circa 1200 AD. He is most known for his composition, the epic poem Gita Govinda, which depicts the divine love of the Hindu deity Krishna and his consort, Radha, and is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. About the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th, the influence of Works of Jayadeva's literary contribution changed the pattern of versification in Oriya.