Mundari language

ମୁଣ୍ଡା, মুন্ডা, मुंडारि
Mundari Bani or Mundari script
Native toIndia, Bangladesh, Nepal
Native speakers
1,128,228 (2011 census)[1]
Mundari Bani Others :Odia script, Devanagari, Bengali–Assamese script, Latin script
Official status
Official language in
 India (Jharkhand)
Language codes
ISO 639-3unr – inclusive code
Individual code:
unx – Kili (called "Munda" in the census)
"Mundari" written in Mundari Bani

Mundari (Muɳɖa) is a Munda language of the Austroasiatic language family spoken by the Munda people in eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. It is closely related to Santali. Mundari Bani, a script specifically to write Mundari, was invented by Rohidas Singh Nag.[3][4] It has also been written in the Devanagari, Odia, Bengali, and Latin writing systems.


According to linguist Paul Sidwell (2018), Munda languages probably arrived on coast of Odisha from Indochina about 4000–3500 years ago after Indo-Aryan migration to Odisha.[5]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Mundari is spoken in the Ranchi, Khunti, Seraikela Kharsawan and West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, and in the Mayurbhanj, Kendujhar, Baleshwar, Sundargarh district of Odisha.[6]


Toshiki Osada (2008:99), citing the Encyclopaedia Mundarica (vol. 1, p. 6), lists the following dialects of Mundari, which are spoken mostly in Jharkhand state.

Bhumij, listed in many sources as a separate language, may in fact be a variety of the Latar (Tamaria) dialect of Mundari. It is spoken across Jharkhand state and in Mayurbhanj district, Odisha (Anderson 2008:196). There may be around 50,000 Bhumij speakers. [7]


The phonology of Mundari is similar to the surrounding closely related Austroasiatic languages but considerably different from either Indo-Aryan or Dravidian. Perhaps the most foreign phonological influence has been on the vowels. Whereas the branches of Austroasiatic in Southeast Asia are rich in vowel phonemes, Mundari has only five. The consonant inventory of Mundari is similar to other Austroasiatic languages with the exception of retroflex consonants, which seem to appear only in loanwords. (Osada 2008)


Mundari has five vowel phonemes. All vowels have long and short as well as nasalized allophones, but neither length nor nasality are contrastive. All vowels in open monosyllables are quantitatively longer than those in closed syllables, and those following nasal consonants or /ɟ/ are nasalized. Vowels preceding or following /ɳ/ are also nasalized.

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a


Mundari's consonant inventory consists of 23 basic phonemes. The Naguri and Kera dialects include aspirated stops as additional phonemes, here enclosed in parentheses.

Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop voiceless p ʈ t͡ɕ k ʔ
aspirated (pʰ) (t̪ʰ) (ʈʰ) (t͡ɕʰ) (kʰ)
voiced b ɖ d͡ʑ g
Fricative h
Nasal m ɳ ɲ ŋ
Approximant w l ɽ j
Trill r


Mundari Transliteration Translation
मिसा Missa Once
बरसा Birsa Twice
अपिसा Apisa Thrice
उपनुसा Upnisa four times
मोंड़ेसा Mondesa Five times
तुरिसा Turisa Six times
ए'सा Eh sa Seven times
इरलसा Erklsa Eight Times
अरे-सा Are sa Nine times
गेलसा Gelsa Ten times


Mundari Transliteration Translation
ऐंन्गा Enga Mother
आपूम Apum Father
हग्गा Hagga Brother
मिस्सी Missi Sister
गुया Guya Sister/brother of sister/brother in law
गतिंग Gatin Friend


Mundari Transliteration Translation
रिकाएआ Rikā'ē'ā Does
ओलेआ Ol'ē'ā Write
जगरेआ Jagor'ē'ā Talk
पढ़वएआ Padv'ē'ā Read
लेलेआ Lel'ē'ā Look/ See
सेनेआ Sen'ē'ā Come along with
नमेआ Nem'ē'ā Found
निरेआ Nir'ē'ā Run
सबेआ Sab'ē'ā Hold
लेका एआ Leka'ē'ā Count
मुकाएआ Muka'ē'ā Measure
रिका एआ Rika'ē'ā Cut


Mundari Transliteration Translation
सिंग बोंगा मरांग बोंगा। Sing bonga marang bonga God is almighty.
अमा नुतुम चिना ? Amā nutum chénā What is your name?
अायं नुतुम रिमिल तना। A̔iy nutum Rimil tanā. My name is Rimil.
अम कोते सेनो तना? Am kōtēm sēnō tanā Where are you going?
नेते हुजू में Nētē hijū mē Come here.
अम चिल्का मेना ? Am chilkā mēnāme How are you?
आलोम नाक खुजाओ में Ālama nāka khujā'ō maiṁ Don't scratch your nose.
जागर लाई पैसा लॉगो। Jāgar natin paisā lagawa Talking costs money.
अम सिनेमा लाई सेनो तना चि का ? Ām cinēmā lel sēnō tanā cī . Will you go to Cinema?
अम चिकम चिका ताना ? Am kanam cekā tānā? What are you doing?
एमके चिकना मेना ? Ēmakē cikanā mēnā? you have any problem
अम कोतेम सेनो ताना ? Ām kōtēm senoh tānā? Where are you going?
अम कोते ते हिजु ताना ? Koteyam hijuh tan Where are you coming from?
थड़ीआ Thaṛī'ā Utensils.
बहा Baā Flower.
हइः Hai Fish
हइःपसे Hai pase Fishing


  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. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mundari". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "BMS to intensify agitation on Mundari language". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Adivasi. Volume 52. Number 1&2. June&December 2012". Page 22
  5. ^ Sidwell, Paul. 2018. Austroasiatic Studies: state of the art in 2018. Presentation at the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, May 22, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mundari". ethnologue.
  7. ^ "Keeping Munda in mind – Pune Mirror -". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  • Anderson, Gregory D.S (ed). 2008. The Munda languages. Routledge Language Family Series 3.New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32890-X.
  • Osada Toshiki. 2008. "Mundari". In Anderson, Gregory D.S (ed). The Munda languages, 99–164. Routledge Language Family Series 3.New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32890-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Evans, Nicholas & Toshki Osada. 2005a. Mundari: the myth of a language without word classes. In Linguistic Typology 9.3, pp. 351–390.
  • Evans, Nicholas & Toshki Osada. 2005b. Mundari and argumentation in word-class analysis. In Linguistic Typology 9.3, pp. 442–457
  • Hengeveld, Kees & Jan Rijkhoff. 2005. Mundari as a flexible language. In Linguistic Typology 9.3, pp. 406–431.
  • Newberry, J. (2000). North Munda dialects: Mundari, Santali, Bhumia. Victoria, B.C.: J. Newberry. ISBN 0-921599-68-4


External links[edit]