'Kumaoni' written in Devanagari Script.
|2 million (2011 census)|
rad? script (historical)
Takri alphabet (historical)
Kumaoni ( ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by over 2 million people of the Kumaon region of the state of Uttarkhand in northern India. Along with neighbouring Garhwali, it belongs to the Central Pahari languages, a group normally classified within the Northern Indo-Aryan group.
Almost all people who can speak and understand Kumaoni can also speak and understand Hindi, one of the official languages of India. It is not endangered but UNESCO's Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger designates it as a language in the unsafe category, meaning it requires consistent conservation efforts.
There are several dialects spoken in the Kumaon region. There is not single accepted method of dividing up the dialects of Kumaoni. Broadly speaking, Kali (or Central) Kumaoni is spoken in Almora and northern Nainital. North-eastern Kumaoni is spoken in Pithoragarh. South-eastern Kumaoni is spoken in South-eastern Nainital. Western Kumaoni is spoken west of Almora and Nainital.
Some Kumaoni speakers are also reportedly found in Western Nepal.
Being part of the Indo-Aryan dialect continuum Kumauni shares its grammar with other Indo-Aryan languages, Hindi, Rajasthani languages, Kashmiri and Gujarati. It shares much of its grammar with the other languages of the Central Pahari like Garhwali and Jaunsari. The peculiarities of grammar in Kumaoni and other Central Pahari languages exist due to the influence of the now extinct language of the Khasas, the first inhabitants of the region. In Kumauni the verb substantive is formed from the root ach, as in both Rajasthani and Kashmiri. In Rajasthani its present tense, being derived from the Sanskrit present rcchami, I go, does not change for gender. But in Pahari and Kashmiri it must be derived from the rare Sanskrit particle *rcchitas, gone, for in these languages it is a participial tense and does change according to the gender of the subject. Thus, in the singular we have: - Here we have a relic of the old Khasa language, which, as has been said, seems to have been related to Kashmiri. Other relics of Khasa, again agreeing with north-western India, are the tendency to shorten long vowels, the practice of epenthesis, or the modification of a vowel by the one which follows in the next syllable, and the frequent occurrence of disaspiration. Thus, Khas siknu, Kumauni sikhno, but Hindi sikhna, to learn; Kumauni yeso, plural yasa, of this kind.
|main lekhnu||I write|
|tu lekh chhe||you write|
|?||U likhno||he writes|
|hum lekhnu||we write|
|tum lekh chho||you write|
|?||un lekhan chhan||they write|
|?||maile lekho||I wrote|
|?||tveel lekho||you wrote|
|?||veel lekho||he wrote|
|? ?||humul lekho||we wrote|
|?||tumule lekho||you wrote|
|?||unule lekho||they wrote|
|?||main lekhulo||I will write|
|tum lekhle||you will write|
|? ?||u lekhal||he will write|
|?||hum lekhula||we will write|
|tum lekhla||you will write|
|?||un lekhal||they will write|
|Jai Dev||Hello (lit. praise the lord) Formal.|
|?||Kas hare chhe?||How are you? Informal|
|?||Kas haro cha||How are you? Formal|
|?||Bhal hero||I am fine|
|kaa jaan chha?||Where are you going|
|?||Kadu?||How much?/How many?|
|Ke hego.||What happened?|
|?||Tumar nau ke che?||What is your name?|
|? ( ) ?||Jattha ghyav ajayaa||YOU come home early|
|? ?||Aapoun kan bate aachcha?||From where do you come?|
|Ko jal Baazar||Who will go to market?|
UNESCO has classified endangered languages into Four Categories- Vulnerable, definitely endangered, severely endangered and critically endangered . Kumaoni lies in the Vulnerable category, Childrens no longer learn the language as mother tongue, The reasons cited by the UNESCO organisation are economic, cultural and political dominance of Hindi.
it is considered and counted as a dialect of Hindi, There have been constant demands to include Kumaoni along with Garhwali in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India so that it could be made one of the Scheduled Language of India. In July 2010, a Member of Parliament from Pauri Garhwal, Satpal Maharaj brought a private member's bill in the Lok Sabha to include Garhwali and Kumaoni languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
However In a step to promote and protect regional languages On December 2019 Government of the state introduced Official Kumaoni Books for Classes 1-5 students of kumaon division Schools.
Kumaoni language has had many noteworthy writers, prominent among them are
Kumaoni theatre which developed through its 'Ramleela' plays, later evolved into a modern theatre form with the efforts of theatre stalwarts like Mohan Upreti, Naima Khan Upreti and Dinesh Pandey, and groups like 'Parvatiya Kala Kendra' (started by Mohan Upreti) and 'Parvatiya Lok Kala Manch'. "Ankhar" of Lucknow did a very good work in the field of kumaoni theater. Ankhar played a number of kumauni plays like "mee yo gayun, mee yo satkyun" writer Nand Kumar Upreti, "Punturi" by Charu Chandra Pandey, "Motor Road" by Govind Ballabh Pant, "Labh Ribhadi" writer Nand Kumar Upreti, "Kagare Aag" and "Tumhare Liye" by Himanshu Joshi, Kumauni translation Naveeen Joshi and ? ?- , @ https://web.archive.org/web/20151007071047/https://navinjoshi1.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/jail-thai-weel-pai.pdf etc.
Folk song genres include ceremonial mandals, martial panwaras and melancholy khuded, thadya and jhoda.
Musical instruments used in Kumaon music include the dhol, damoun, turri, ransingha, dholki, daur, thali, bhankora and masakbhaja. Tabla and harmonium are also used, but to a lesser extent.
Some prominent singers are:
In the early 1990s songs on the turning life style mainly on the one who are heading towards town being made in which meri kumau ki gaadi, hit meri punjaban billo uttarakhand pahara, bwaari tamaaku pija etc. criticize the changing attitude in kumaoni society, the songs of mohan manral straight away criticize of the changing mindset of metropolitan kumaoni society running away from their roots.
However, in an attempt to revive the love for these songs, especially among the youth, unplugged or reprise covers of folk songs like, "Haaye Teri Rumaala", "Chhaana Bilauri", "Hit Dagadi Kamla", "Gughuti na Baasa" by several young artists like Suraj Verma, Gaurav Pandey, Priyanka Meher, etc have been produced. These videos have been well received by the viewers on YouTube, with the number of views as high as 737k.