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What writing system(s) does this language use?


Marathi uses the devanagri writing system, which is used in other languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit. Traditionally, the Modi script was used, but it was very difficult to use for printing and therefore the devanagri script was adopted and is now the standard writing system for Marathi.

How many people speak this language?


Approximately 90 million people speak Marathi all over the world. Since it is similar to Hindi and other Indian languages in general, it is possible for many non-Marathi speaking Indians to understand some basic phrases and sentences in Marathi, especially speakers of Gujarati and Konkani.

Where is this language spoken?


Marathi is spoken in the Maharashtra state of India. Marathi is also the official language of the state and is considered as one of the eighteen official languages of India. Now, Marathi is also spoken in Maharashtrian communities all over the world.

What is the history of this language?


The prelude to Marathi Language is 'Maharashtri Prakrit' Language. Maharashtri was the most popular amongst all Prakrit languages. It was spoken from Malwa and Rajputana (north) to the Krishna and Tungabhadra River region (south) including Modern Maharashtra in India. Maharashtri was spoken for 1000 years (500 BC to 500 AD). It was used in numerous works of literature, and its literary use was made famous by the Sanskrit playwright Kālidāsa. The Gāhā Sattasaī, Setubandh and Karpuraman̄jarī (कर्पुरमंजरी) are attributed to King Hāla Satavahana (r. 20-24 CE). Gāhā Sattasaī, an anthology of over 700 love poems, has been established as the most famous work of literature in Maharashtri. Maharashtri Prakrit was commonly spoken until AD 875. Maharashtri apabhraṃśas remained in use until the 13th century and was used widely in Jain literature and formed an important link in the evolution of Marathi. This form of Apabhraṃśa was re-Sanskritised and eventually became Marathi. The early Marathi literature written during the Yadava (850-1312 CE) was mostly religious and philosophical in nature. The earliest known Marathi inscription found at the foot of the statue at Shravanabelgola in Karnataka is dated c. 983. Mukundraj's Vivek Sindhu (around 1188 CE), with its 18 chapters and 1671 verses, is considered as the first major book in the Marathi language. It is clear that Marathi became extensively used in the thirteenth century onwards with patronage from Yadava Kings of Devgiri. Some of the earliest works like Bhavarth-dipika (Dyaneshwari) were written during this period. Bhavarth Deepika is a 9000-couplets long commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. With advent of Muslim rulers, Persian and Arabic words also became part of language. The celebrated Maratha king Shivaji Bhonsale greatly encouraged the spread and use of Marathi, which was the language of his people. It was during Shivaji's time that some of the greatest Marathi works were written, and Marathi literature advanced and developed since his reign.

After the British colonized India, many English words and phrases entered Marathi usage. Even though there are Sanskrit and Marathi replacements, many Marathi-speakers prefer to use English words sometimes, such as "police", "T.V.", "computer", "radio", "fridge (or refrigerator)", etc. This use of English words, however, is significantly lesser in rural dialects and in scholarly contexts.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?


Many books have been written in Marathi, on various topics. Tukaram, a Maharashtrian Saint, wrote abhangas, or small poems that discouraged evil practices. Other famous authors include B.B.Borkar, Pralhad Keshav Atre, Hari Apte, Vishnu Khandekar, Balchandra Nemade, P.L. Deshpande, Tarabai Shinde, V.V. Shirwadkar, and Narendra Jadhav.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?


Marathi word - Latin version of the word - English translation

  • नमस्कार - namaskaar - hello, good morning, afternoon, etc., and goodbye.
  • तुम्ही कशे आहात? - tumhi kashe aahaat? - How are you?
  • मी ठीक आहे, आणि तुम्ही? - mee theek aahe, aani tumhi? - I am fine, and you?
  • तुमच नाव काय आहे? - tumcha naav kaay aahe? - What is your name?
  • माझ नाव राहुल आहे. - maazha naav Rahul aahe. - My name is Rahul.

The word order in Marathi sentences is different from those in English. In Marathi the verb usually comes last in the sentence. For example in the sentence given above for "What is your name?", the order the words are actually said in Marathi is "your name what is". "tumcha" means your, "naav" means name, "kaay" means what, and "aahe" means is.



Marathi Word - Latin Version - English Translation

  • पांढरा - paandhraa - White
  • काळा - kaalaa - Black
  • पिवळा - pivlaa - Yellow
  • हिरवा - hirvaa - Green
  • निळा - nilaa - Blue
  • लाल - laal - Red
  • जांभळा - jaambhlaa - Violet/Purple



English Number. Marathi Number (Latin Version), Representation

  • 0. शून्य (shoonya) ०
  • 1. एक (ek) १
  • 2. दोन (don) २
  • 3. तीन (teen) ३
  • 4. चार (chaar) ४
  • 5. पाच (paanch) ५
  • 6. सहा (sahaa) ६
  • 7. सात (saath) ७
  • 8. आठ (aatth) ८
  • 9. नऊ (nau) ९
  • 10. दहा (dahaa) १०

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?


येरे येरे पावसा


In Devanagri Script

येरे येरे पावसा, तुला देतो पैसा
पैसा झाला खोटा, पाऊस आला मोठा
ये ग ये ग सरी, माझे मडके भरी
सर आली धाउन,
मडके गेले वाहुन!

In Latin Script

Yere yere pavsa, tula deto paisa
paisa zhala khota, paoos ala motha
ye ga ye ga saree, majhe madke bhari
sar ali dhaoon
madke gele wahoon


Rain rain, come here, i'll give you a coin
the coin turned out to be fake, and the rain came down heavily,
Shower (of rain), come here, fill my pots for me
the shower came running,
and my pots were washed away!