Awadhi language

Native to India, Nepal, Fiji (as Fijian Hindustani)[1]
Region Awadh and Lower Doab regions in Uttar Pradesh and Nepal and adjacent areas of neighboring states
Ethnicity Awadhis
Native speakers
3.85 million (2011 census)[2]
501,752 in Nepal (2011 census)[3] Census results conflate most speakers with Hindi.[4]
Devanagari, Kaithi, Perso-Arabic
Official status
Official language in
 Fiji (as Fiji Hindi)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 awa
ISO 639-3 awa
Glottolog awad1243[5]

Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken primarily in the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh and Terai belt of Nepal. Awadhi was classified as Eastern Hindi by George Abraham Grierson, who commissioned the Linguistic Survey of India.[6]


Important works in Awadhi are the Candayan of Maulana Da’ud, the Padmavat of Malik Mohammad Jaisi (1540 A.D.), the Ramcharitmanas and Hanuman Chalisa of Tulsidas (1575 AD), "Dohe" of Kabir named as Bijak,Indravati by Nur Muhammad (1757 AD) and the poet Sur.[7]

Geographical Distribution

Awadhi is chiefly spoken in the Awadh region in north-central Uttar Pradesh, and districts such as Ambedkar Nagar[8], Bahraich, Allahabad, Barabanki, Gonda, Faizabad, Lucknow,[9]Pratapgarh, Sultanpur, Jaunpur, and Basti district.

A form of Awadhi is also spoken as a lingua franca for Indians in Fiji. Fiji Hindi is an older Avadhi/Awadhi dialect that was influenced by other Indian dialects, but retains most grammatical features of Avadhi/Awadhi. It is spoken by approximately 460,000 people in Fiji and diaspora of the community in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Canada.[10]

It was majorly used as language of villagers and less educated people in Hindi films till the mid of 2000s. Two films using it for the major part of their length are - Ganga Jamuna, which inspired the rise of Bhojpuri cinema and Lagaan. In Lagaan it was mixed with Braj Bhasha as Awadhi is very flexible, understandle and easily linkable to Hindi. It was used as the language of minor and other characters in the 1986 Indian epic television series Ramayan.

In the television series Yudh, Amitabh Bachchan spoke parts of his dialogue in Awadhi which received critical acclaim. According to the Hindustan Times:

We simply loved Amitabh Bachchan speaking Awadhi on TV! Only an actor of his calibre could transform himself from a high-class English speaking businessman to rattle off the dialogues in Awadhi. He has done it in the past for a few Bollywood and regional films, but not as regularly as one would have liked him, to show off grasp over the language. It was great to see him speak in fluent Awadhi in Wednesday's episode."[11]

See also


  1. "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  3. "Census of India: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues –2001". Retrieved 2015-03-02.
  4. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Awadhi". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. "The Record News". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  6. "Evolution of Awadhi (a Branch of Hindi). - Baburam Saksena - Google Books". Retrieved 2015-03-02.
  8. "Awadhi Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. "Fiji Hindi". Ethnologue. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  10. "Yudh review: Amitabh Bachchan's show limps back to sluggish pace". 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2015-03-02.
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