(Last Updated on : 19/05/2014)
Kumaoni language in India has been recognised as one of the 325 Indian languages. Generally people of Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Udhamsingh Nagar districts of Uttarakhand use this language. Some people of Himachal Pradesh
and Nepal also sometimes speak this language. Kumaoni can also be classified as the one of the sub-groups of Pahari language. In the year 1998, it was estimated that Kumaoni language is spoken by around 2,360,000 people. Several people recognize this Kumani by its alternate names. These include Kamaoni, Kumaoni, Kumau, Kumawani, Kumgoni, Kumman, Kunayaoni. It belongs to the enriched family of Indo-Aryan languages.
Dialects of Kumaoni too are quite exorbitant. There are 20 dialects of the Kumaoni language. Important ones are Central Kumauni, North eastern Kumauni, South eastern Kumauni, Western Kumauni, Askoti, Bhabari of Rampur, Chaugarkhiya, Danpuriya, Gangola, Johari, Khasparjiya, Kumaiya, Pachhai, Pashchimi, Phaldakotiya, Rau- Chaubhaisi, Sirali, Soriyali. Among these dialects generally the Central Kumaoni is spoken by the people of Almora and northern Nainital, northeastern Kumaoni is used in Pithoragarh, southeastern Kumaoni is practiced by the people of southeast Nainital and the dialect of western Kumaoni is spoken by the people of Almora
All dialects are easily understandable by each and every people of the Kumani speaking region. However, the dialects that are spoken in the eastern provinces of this region are different from the rest. Kumaoni has a close relation to Garwhali language. Also the Southeast dialect is considered to be 'sweet'. The Central one is the most conventional. The literacy rate of Kumaoni as a second language recorded a total of fifty-eight percentage. Out of it, seventy three percent comprises of males, while forty one percent constitutes of females. Kumauni script is used for Kumaoni writings. Kumaon also has a very rich tradition of folk literature, which deals with local, national myths, heroes, heroines, deeds of bravery and various aspects of nature.
The Kumaoni language is not limited only under literature; it has notable presence in the media and folk music. Several films and theatre shows have been produced in the Kumaoni language. Besides these it can be said that the Kumaoni music has a touch of nature. The melody and lyrics of the Kumaoni folk music is deeply rooted in the lap of nature. The Kumaoni music has been designed for all kinds of occasions and is generally accompanied by instruments like dhol, turi, dholak, rasingha and a lot more.