What writing system(s) does this language use?
Oriya uses the Oriya script which is somewhat similar to the Benagli script used for the Bengali language and the Devanagari script used for languages such as Hindi.
How many people speak this language?
About 31 million people.
Where is this language spoken?
Oriya (ଓଡ଼ିଆ oṛiā) is one of the Indian languages mainly spoken in the Indian state of Orissa, though there are also significant Oriya-speaking populations in other linguistic regions, such as the Medinpur district of West Bengal and the Saraikela Kharsawan district of Jharkhand. Due to the increasing migration of labour, the west Indian state of Gujarat also has a significant Oriya speaking population with Surat being the second largest Oriya speaking city in India. The language is also an official language of India.
What is the history of this language?
Oriya is an Indo-Aryan language and is thought to be directly descended from the Prakrit known as Purva Magadhi that was spoken in eastern India over 1,500 years ago. It bears a very strong resemblance to the modern languages Bangla (Bengali) and Ôxômiya (Assamese). Of all the languages spoken in northern India, Oriya appears to be the least influenced by Persian and Arabic.
Oriya has a rich literary heritage dating back to the thirteenth century. Sarala Dasa who lived in the fourteenth century is known as the Vyasa of Orissa. He translated the Mahabharata into Oriya. In fact the language was initially standardised through a procss of translation of classical Sanskrit texts like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Srimad Bhagabatam. Jagannatha Das translated the Srimad Bhagabatam into Oriya and his translation standardized the written form of the language. Oriya has had a strong tradition of poetry, especially that of devotional poetry.
Prose in the language has had a late development. Distinguished prose writers of the modern period include Fakir Mohan Senapati, Manoj Das, Bibhuti Pattnaik, Pratibha Rai, Surendra Mohanty, Madhusudan Das, Kishore Charan Das, Kalindi Charan Panigrahi, Hari Hara Das, and Gopinath Mohanty. But it is poetry that makes modern Oriya literature a force to reckon with. Poets like Guruprsad Mohanty, Soubhagya Misra, Ramakanta Rath, and Sitakanta Mohapatra have made significant contributions towards Indian poetry.
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
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