Language of Odisha

Odia – the language of the Odisha.

Odia language is the mother-tongue of the people living in the state of  Odisha. Odia is also the official language of the state. Odia is the regional language of Odisha.

It belongs to the Indo-Aryan family of languages as a direct descendant of eastern Magadhi. Under the influence of neighboring regional languages of the Aryan and Dravidian families, as also that of the Austric group of languages current among the tribal groups, Odia has developed many linguistic variations. Besides, hilly regions of north and south Odisha have their own local versions of Odia with many linguistic peculiarities. The first dated, inscription in Odia goes back to 1051 AD discovered at Urajang. But recent discoveries of Sanskrit inscriptions with Odia words thrown in, reported from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh areas of the ancient Kalinga Empire, push back its lineage to the 6th century AD. During the Surya dynasty (1435-1523), Odia literacy activities were remarkable and the great epics and almost all the Puranas and some Upanishads were translated and often reinterpreted. The Odia script, descending from Brahmi script, has been given the round or Dravidian finish, probably during the reign of the Ganga kings. The shape was admirably adapted to writing on processed palm leaves with an iron stylus.

Odia in Neighboring regions

Outside Orissa, there are also significant Oriya-speaking populations in other linguistic regions, such as the Midnapore district of West Bengal, the East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum Seraikela Kharsawan district, Simdega, Gumla, Khunti, Ranchi district of Jharkhand, the Srikakulam, Vizianagaram & Vishakhapatnam District of Andhra Pradesh, eastern districts of Chhattisgarh state. Due to the increasing migration of labour, the west Indian state of Gujarat also has a significant Odia speaking population with Surat being the city with the second largest Odia-speaking population in India. The Odia-speaking people are also found in significant numbers in the cities of Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Raipur, Jamshedpur, Baroda, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Kolkata, Kharagpur, Guwahati, Shillong, Pune, & Silvassa in India.

Odia in Foreign countries

The Odia-speaking people are also found in several countries around the world. They are significant in number in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra and Bali mainly carried by sadhaba, the ancient traders from Orissa who carried the language along with the culture during the old day trading, and in the western countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and England. Odia speakers are regarded as one of the ‘Transnational Ethnic Indian Groups’. In India, the language is spoken by over 31 million people, and globally over 45 million speak Oriya. It is one of the official languages of India and the major language of Orissa. Odia language has spread also to the other parts of the globe such as Burma, Malaysia, Fiji.