Marwari language

Native toIndia
Native speakers
7.8 million, partial count (2011 census)[1]
(additional speakers counted under Hindi)
Devanagari, Perso-Arabic
Language codes
ISO 639-2mwr
ISO 639-3mwr – inclusive code
Individual codes:
dhd – Dhundari
rwr – Marwari (India)
mve – Marwari (Pakistan)
wry – Merwari
mtr – Mewari
swv – Shekhawati
hoj – Harauti
gig – Goaria
ggg – Gurgula
raja1256  scattered in Rajasthani[3]
Marwari map.PNG
Dark green indicates primary Marwari-speaking region, light green indicates additional dialect areas who count themselves as Marwari

Marwari (Mārwāṛī; also rendered Marwadi, Marvadi) is a Rajasthani language spoken in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Marwari is also found in the neighbouring state of Gujarat and Haryana, Eastern Pakistan and some migrant communities in Nepal. With some 7.8 million or so speakers (ce. 2011), it is one of the largest varieties of Rajasthani. Most speakers live in Rajasthan, with a quarter million in Sindh and a tenth that number in Nepal. There are two dozen dialects of Marwari.

Marwari is popularly written in Devanagari script, as is Hindi, Marathi, Nepali and Sanskrit; although it was historically written in Mahajani, it is still written in the Perso-Arabic script by the Marwari minority in Eastern Pakistan (the standard/western Naskh script variant is used in Sindh Province, and the eastern Nastalik variant is used in Punjab Province), where it has educational status but where it is rapidly shifting to Urdu.[4]

Indian Marwari has no official status in the government in India and is not used as a language of education. Marwari is still spoken widely in and around Bikaner and Jodhpur.


Marwari is a descendant of Sanskrit. In the northwestern part of what is today India, Sanskrit developed into the Śaurasenī Prakrit, which in turn developed into the Gurjar Apabhraṃśa. This Apabhraṃśa was described in a formal grammar by the Śvetāmbara Jain monk and eminent Chaulukyan scholar Hemachandra Suri. Following this, the language developed into Old Gujarati, occasionally known as Old Western Rajasthani. In the late 1400s, Old Gujarati began to diverge into Middle Gujarati and into what is infrequently known as Old Marwari. By the close of the 18th century, Old Marwari developed into the modern language as known today.

Geographical distribution[edit]

Marwari is primarily spoken in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Marwari speakers have dispersed widely throughout India and other countries but are found most notably in the neighbouring state of Gujarat and in Eastern Pakistan. Speakers are also found in Bhopal. With around 7.9 million speakers in India according to the 2001 census.[5] There are several dialects: Thaḷī (spoken in eastern Jaisalmer district and northwestern Jodhpur district), Bāgṛī (near Haryana), Bhitrauti, Sirohī, Godwārī.[6]


Indian Marwari [rwr] in Rajasthan shares a 50%–65% lexical similarity with Hindi (this is based on a Swadesh 210 word list comparison). It has many cognate words with Hindi. Notable phonetic correspondences include /s/ in Hindi with /h/ in Marwari. For example, /sona/ 'gold' (Hindi) and /hono/ 'gold' (Marwari).

Pakistani Marwari [mve] shares 87% lexical similarity between its Southern subdialects in Sindh (Utradi, Jaxorati, and Larecha) and Northern subdialects in Punjab (Uganyo, Bhattipo, and Khadali), 79%–83% with Dhakti [mki], and 78% with Meghwar and Bhat Marwari dialects. Mutual intelligibility of Pakistani Marwari [mve] with Indian Marwari [rwr] is decreasing due to the rapid shift of active Pakistanese speakers to Urdu, their use of the Arabic script and very different sources of support medias, and their separation from Indian Marwaris, even if there are some educational efforts to keep it active (but absence of official recognition by Pakistani or provincial government level). Lots of words are being borrowed from other major Pakistani languages.[4]

Merwari [wry] shares 82%–97% intelligibility of Pakistani Marwari [mve], with 60%–73% lexical similarity between Merwari varieties in Ajmer and Nagaur districts, but only 58%–80% with Shekhawati [swv], 49%–74% with Indian Marwari [rwr], 44%–70% with Godwari [gdx], 54%–72% with Mewari [mtr], 62%–70% with Dhundari [dhd], 57%–67% with Haroti [hoj]. Unlike Pakistani Marwari [mve], the use of Merwari remains vigorous, even if its most educated speakers also proficiently speak Hindi [hin].[7]


/h/ sometimes elides. There are also a variety of vowel changes. Most of the pronouns and interrogatives are, however, distinct from those of Hindi.[citation needed]


Marwari languages have a structure that is quite similar to Hindustani (Hindi or Urdu).[citation needed] Their primary word order is subject–object–verb[8][9][10][11][12] Most of the pronouns and interrogatives used in Marwari are distinct from those used in Hindi; at least Marwari proper and Harauti have a clusivity distinction in their plural pronouns.[citation needed]


Marwari vocabulary is somewhat similar to other Western Indo-Aryan languages, especially Rajasthani and Gujarati, however, elements of grammar and basic terminology differ enough to significantly impede mutual intelligibility. In addition, Marwari uses many words found in Sanskrit (the ancestor of most North Indian languages) which are not found in Hindi.

Writing system[edit]

Marwari is generally written in the Devanagari script, although the Mahajani script is traditionally associated with the language. Traditionally it was written in Mahajani script (which does not have vowels, only consonants). In Pakistan it is written in the Perso-Arabic script with modifications. Historical Marwari orthography for Devanagari uses other characters in place of standard Devanagari letters.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Statement 1: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues - 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ Ernst Kausen, 2006. Die Klassifikation der indogermanischen Sprachen (Microsoft Word, 133 KB)
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rajasthani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ a b "Pakistanese Marwari". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Census of India Website : Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India".
  6. ^ Masica, Colin P. (1991). The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press. pp. 12, 444. ISBN 978-0-521-23420-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. ^ "Merwari". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Indian Marwari". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Dhundari". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Shekhawati". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Mewari". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Haroti". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  13. ^ Pandey, Anshuman. 2010. Proposal to Encode the Marwari Letter DDA for Devanagari

External links[edit]