(Last Updated on : 15/12/2012)
Kharia language is an Indian tribal language that refers to a tribal or 'adivasi' group of the country. This language belongs to the Austro-Asiatic language family and is mostly spoken by the tribal people living in the states of Jharkhand
. The major Kharia speaking states are southern Bihar
, northern Orissa, Assam
, and eastern Madhya Pradesh
. Interestingly, most of the Kharia speaking places are ethnically heterogeneous. Kharia tribe has three major sub-groups and these are Dudh Kharia, Dhelki Kharia and Hill Kharia. Dudh Khari and Dhelki Kharia chiefly speak Austro-Asiatic whereas the Hill Kharia speaks an Indo Aryan language
that is known as Kharia Thar. However, no language development efforts have been made in Kharia.
Linguistic System of Kharia Language
In Kharia tribal language, the higher numbers are counted in twenties as it has a vigesimal number system. This language has incorporated a new linguistic system within its existing system that is numeral classifier has been adopted. There are many rural Kharia speakers who maintain the indigenous kinship terms. Further, this language has also witnessed the incorporation of verbs belonging to the basic vocabulary. Thus, the incorporation of grammatical features of the neighbouring dominant languages and widening of semantic and cognitive scopes has enabled the Kharia tribal language to enlarge the communicative network. In Kharia language, words of the basic lexicon incorporate a large number of aspirates. It is also said that alien to Dravidian language
and Austro-Asiatic languages in general, Kharia language has developed numeral classifiers in accordance to Indo-Aryan languages that is mostly followed in the Jharkhand region.
Distribution of Kharia Language
The Hill Kharia, one of the sub-groups of Kharia tribe, lives in various states of India. In the state of Orissa, the Hill Kharia sub-group are mostly found in Karanjia
and Jashipur blocks of Mayurbhanj district
. A few villages are also found in Morada block. In Jharkhand
, they are concentrated in east Singhbhum
, Gumla disricts
, Simdega districts. Apart from this district, this tribe is also found in large numbers in Musabani
, Dumaria and Chakulia blocks. In the state of West Bengal
, this tribe is found in western part of Midnapore district, Purulia district
and Bankura district
. They are found in majority in Purulia. They are also known as Pahari. Thus, this classification shows that Kharia language is mainly spoken in the eastern region of the country.