Odia language

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Odia script.png
The word "Odia" in Odia script
Pronunciation[oˈɽia] (About this soundlisten)
Native toIndia
RegionOdisha[lower-alpha 1]
Native speakers
35 million (2011–2019)[1][2]
L2 speakers: 4 million[1]
Early forms
Odia script
Odia Braille
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byOdisha Sahitya Akademi, Government of Odisha[6]
Language codes
ISO 639-1or
ISO 639-2ori
ISO 639-3ori – inclusive code
Individual codes:
ory – Odia
spv – Sambalpuri
ort – Adivasi Odia (Kotia)
dso – Desiya (duplicate of [ort])[7]
Glottologmacr1269  Macro-Oriya (Odra)
oriy1255  Odia
Odia map.svg
  Odia majority or plurality
  Significant Odia minority

Odia /əˈdə/[8] (ଓଡ଼ିଆ, ISO: Oṛiā, pronounced [oˈɽia] (About this soundlisten);[9] formerly rendered Oriya /ɒˈrə/) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Indian state of Odisha.[10] It is the official language in Odisha (formerly rendered Orissa)[11] where native speakers make up 82% of the population,[12] and it is also spoken in parts of West Bengal,[13] Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.[14] Odia is one of the many official languages of India; it is the official language of Odisha and the second official language of Jharkhand.[15][16][17] The language is also spoken by a sizeable population of at least 1 million people in Chhattisgarh.

Trilingual Signboard at Bhubaneswar Airport having text in Odia, Hindi and English

Odia is the sixth Indian language to be designated a Classical language, on the basis of having a long literary history and not having borrowed extensively from other languages.[18][19][20][21] The earliest known inscription in Odia dates back to the 10th century CE.[22]


Odia is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-Aryan language family. It is thought to be directly descended from an Odra Prakrit, which was spoken in east India over 1,500 years ago, and is the primary language used in early Jain and Buddhist texts.[23] Odia appears to have had relatively little influence from Persian and Arabic, compared to other major Indo-Aryan languages.[24]

The proto-languages of eastern Magadhan; the split and descent of Proto-Odra (Odra Prakrit), the ancestor of the modern Odia language, from Proto-Magadhan (Magadhi Prakrit)[25]
Urajam inscription in Old Odia, royal charter of Eastern Ganga dynasty (1051 CE)

The history of the Odia language is divided into eras:

  • Proto Odia (12th century and earlier): Inscriptions from 10th century onwards provide evidence for the existence of the Old Odia language, although the earliest known inscription that actually contains Odia lines is dated to 1249 CE.[26]
  • Early Middle Odia (1200–1400): The earliest use of prose can be found in the Madala Panji of the Jagannath Temple at Puri, which dates back to the 12th century. Such works as Shishu Veda, Amara Kosha, Gorakha Samhita, Kalasha Chautisha, and Saptanga are written in this form of Odia.[27][28][29]
  • Middle Odia (1400–1700): Sarala Das writes the Vilanka Ramayana.[30][31] Towards the 16th century, poets emerged around the Vaishnava leader Achyutananda, These five poets are Balaram Das, Jagannatha Das, Achyutananda, Ananta Das and Jasobanta Das.
  • Late Middle Odia (1700–1850): Ushabhilasa of Sisu Sankara Das, the Rahasya Manjari of Deba Durlabha Dasa and the Rukmini Bibaha of Kartika Dasa were written. A new form of metrical epic-poems (called Chhanda-Kabya) evolved during the beginning of the 17th century when Ramachandra Pattanayaka wrote Haravali. Upendra Bhanja took a leading role in this period- his creations Baidehisha Bilasa, Koti Brahmanda Sundari, Labanyabati were landmarks in Odia Literature. Dinakrushna Das's Rasokallola and Abhimanyu Samanta Singhara's Bidagdha Chintamani are prominent Kavyas of this time. Four major poets emerged in the end of the era are Baladeba Rath, Bhima Bhoi, Brajanath Badajena and Gopala Krushna Pattanaik.
  • Modern Odia (1850 till present day): The first Odia printing typeset was cast in 1836 by the Christian missionaries which made a great revolution in Odia literature and language.

Charyapada of 8th Century and its affinity with Odia[edit]

The beginning of Odia poet coincides with the development of Charya sahitya, the literature started by Vajrayana Buddhist poets such as in the Charyapada. This literature was written in a specific metaphor called twilight language and prominent poets included Luipa, Tilopa and Kanha. Quite importantly, the ragas that are mentioned for singing the Charyapadas are found abundantly in later Odia literature.

Poet Jayadeva's literary contribution[edit]

Jayadeva was a Sanskrit poet. He was born in an Utkala Brahmin family of Puri in circa 1200 CE. He is most known for his composition, the epic poem Gita Govinda, which depicts the divine love of the Hindu deity Krishna and his consort, Radha, and is considered an important text in the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. About the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th, the influence of Jayadeva's literary contribution changed the pattern of versification in Odia.[citation needed]

Geographical distribution[edit]


Odia is mainly spoken in the state of Odisha, but there are significant Odia-speaking populations in the neighbouring states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.[32]

Due to the increasing migration of labour, the west Indian state of Gujarat also has a significant population of Odia speakers.[33] Significant numbers of Odia speakers can also be found in the cities of Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai, Raipur, Jamshedpur, Baroda, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Guwahati, Shillong, Pune, Gurgaon, Jammu and Silvassa[34] According to 2011 census, 3.1% of Indians in India are Odia speakers,[35] of which 93% belong to Odisha.

Foreign countries[edit]

The Odia diaspora constitute a sizeable number in several countries around the world, totalling the number of Odia speakers on a global scale to 50 million.[36][37][page needed][need quotation to verify] It has a significant presence in eastern countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, mainly carried by the sadhaba, ancient traders from Odisha who carried the language along with the culture during the old-day trading,[38] and in western countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and England. The language has also spread to Burma, Malaysia, Fiji, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Middle East countries.[37] It is spoken as a native tongue by the Bonaz community in northeastern Bangladesh.

Standardization and dialects[edit]

Major varieties or dialects[edit]

Minor regional dialects

Major tribal and community dialects/sociolects[edit]

Minor sociolects

Odia minor dialects include:[50]

  • Bhuyan: Tribal dialect spoken in Northern Odisha.
  • Kurmi: Northern Odisha and Southwest Bengal.
  • Sounti: Spoken in Northern Odisha and Southwest Bengal.
  • Bathudi: Spoken in Northern Odisha and Southwest Bengal.
  • Kondhan: Tribal dialect spoken in Western Odisha.
  • Agharia: Spoken by Agharia community in districts of Western Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Bhulia: Spoken by Bhulia community in districts of Western Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Matia: Tribal dialect spoken in Southern Odisha.


Pronunciation of Odia alphabet.

Odia has 30 consonant phonemes, 2 semivowel phonemes and 6 vowel phonemes.

Odia vowel phonemes[51][52]
Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a ɔ

Length is not contrastive. Final vowels are pronounced in the standard language, e.g. Odia [pʰulɔ] contrasts Bengali [pʰul] "flower".[53]

Odia consonant phonemes[51][54]
Labial Alveolar
Retroflex Post alv./
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ ŋ
voiceless p t ʈ k
voiceless aspirated ʈʰ tʃʰ
voiced b d ɖ ɡ
voiced aspirated ɖʱ dʒʱ ɡʱ
Fricative s ɦ
Trill/Flap ɾ ɽ~ɽʰ
Lateral approximant l ɭ
Approximant w j

Odia retains the voiced retroflex lateral approximant [ɭ],[55] among the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages. The velar nasal [ŋ] is given phonemic status in some analyses, as it occurs also as a Final velar nasal [ŋ]. E.g.- ଏବଂ- ebaṅ (ebɔŋ)[56] Nasals assimilate for place in nasal–stop clusters. /ɖ ɖʱ/ have the flap allophones [ɽ ɽʱ] in intervocalic position and in final position (but not at morpheme boundaries). Stops are sometimes deaspirated between /s/ and a vowel or an open syllable /s/+vowel and a vowel. Some speakers distinguish between single and geminate consonants.[57]


Odia retains most of the cases of Sanskrit, though the nominative and vocative have merged (both without a separate marker), as have the accusative and dative. There are three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter) and two grammatical numbers (singular and plural). However there are no grammatical genders. The usage of gender is semantic, i.e. to differentiate male member of a class from female member.[58] There are three true tenses (present, past and future), others being formed with auxiliaries.

Writing system[edit]

A detailed chart depicting evolution of the Odia script as displayed in a museum at Ratnagiri, Odisha

The Odia language uses Odia script (also known as the Kalinga script). It is a Brahmic script used to write primarily Odia language and others like Sanskrit and several minor regional languages. The script has developed over nearly 1000 years with the earliest trace of the script being dated to 1051 AD. It is a syllabic alphabet or an abugida, wherein all consonants have an inherent vowel embedded within.

Odia is a syllabic alphabet or an abugida wherein all consonants have an inherent vowel embedded within. Diacritics (which can appear above, below, before, or after the consonant they belong to) are used to change the form of the inherent vowel. When vowels appear at the beginning of a syllable, they are written as independent letters. Also, when certain consonants occur together, special conjunct symbols are used to combine the essential parts of each consonant symbol.

The curved appearance of the Odia script is a result of the practice of writing on palm leaves, which have a tendency to tear if you use too many straight lines.[59]

Odia Script[edit]

Vowels ସ୍ୱର ବର୍ଣ୍ଣ
Consonants ବ୍ୟଞ୍ଜନ ବର୍ଣ୍ଣ
ଡ଼ ଢ଼ କ୍ଷ
Signs, Punctuation
Numbers ସଂଖ୍ୟା


The earliest literature in Odia language can be traced to the Charyapadas composed in the 7th to 9th centuries.[60] Before Sarala Das, the most important works in Odia literature are the Shishu Veda, Saptanga, Amara Kosha, Rudrasudhanidhi, Kesaba Koili, Kalasha Chautisha etc.[27][28][29] In the 14th century, the poet Sarala Das wrote the Sarala Mahabharata, Chandi Purana, and Vilanka Ramayana, in praise of the goddess Durga. Rama-Bibaha, written by Arjuna Dasa, was the first long poem written in the Odia language.

The following era is termed the Panchasakha Age and stretches until the year 1700. The period begins with the writings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whose Vaishnava influence brought in a new evolution in Odia literature. Notable religious works of the Panchasakha Age include those of Balarama Dasa, Jagannatha Dasa, Yasovanta, Ananta and Acyutananda. The authors of this period mainly translated, adapted, or imitated Sanskrit literature. Other prominent works of the period include the Usabhilasa of Sisu Sankara Dasa, the Rahasya-manjari of Debadurlabha Dasa and the Rukmini-bibha of Kartikka Dasa. A new form of novels in verse evolved during the beginning of the 17th century when Ramachandra Pattanayaka wrote Haravali. Other poets like Madhusudana, Bhima Bhoi, Dhivara, Sadasiva and Sisu Isvara-dasa composed another form called kavyas (long poems) based on themes from Puranas, with an emphasis on plain, simple language.

However, during the Bhanja Age (also known as the Age of Riti Yuga) beginning with turn of the 18th century, verbally tricky Odia became the order of the day. Verbal jugglery, eroticism characterise the period between 1700 and 1850, particularly in the works of the era's eponymous poet Upendra Bhanja (1670–1720). Bhanja's work inspired many imitators of which the most notable is Arakshita Das. Family chronicles in prose relating religious festivals and rituals are also characteristic of the period.

The first Odia printing typeset was cast in 1836 by Christian missionaries. Although the handwritten Odia script of the time closely resembled the Bengali and Assamese scripts, the one adopted for the printed typesets was significantly different, leaning more towards the Tamil script and Telugu script. Amos Sutton produced an Oriya Bible (1840), Oriya Dictionary (1841–43) and[61] An Introductory Grammar of Oriya (1844).[62]

Odia has a rich literary heritage dating back to the thirteenth century. Sarala Dasa who lived in the fourteenth century is known as the Vyasa of Odisha. He translated the Mahabharata into Odia. In fact, the language was initially standardised through a process of translating classical Sanskrit texts such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Srimad Bhagabata Gita. The translation of the Srimad Bhagabata Gita by Jagannatha Dasa was particularly influential on the written form of the language. Odia has had a strong tradition of poetry, especially devotional poetry.

Other eminent Odia poets include Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja and Kabisurya Baladev Ratha.

Classical Odia literature is inextricably tied to music, and most of it was written for singing, set to traditional Odissi ragas and talas. These compositions form the core of the system of Odissi music, the classical music of the state.

Prose in the language has had a late development.

Three great poets and prose writers, Kabibar Radhanath Ray (1849–1908), Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843–1918) and Madhusudan Rao (1853–1912) made Odia their own. They brought in a modern outlook and spirit into Odia literature. Around the same time the modern drama took birth in the works of Rama Sankara Ray beginning with Kanci-Kaveri (1880).

Among the contemporaries of Fakir Mohan, four novelists deserve special mention: Aparna Panda, Mrutyunjay Rath, Ram Chandra Acharya and Brajabandhu Mishra. Aparna Panda's Kalavati and Brajabandhu Mishra's Basanta Malati were both published in 1902, the year in which Chha Mana Atha Guntha came out in the book form. Brajabandhu Mishra's Basanta Malati, which came out from Bamanda, depicts the conflict between a poor but highly educated young man and a wealthy and highly egoistic young woman whose conjugal life is seriously affected by ego clashes. Through a story of union, separation and reunion, the novelist delineates the psychological state of a young woman in separation from her husband and examines the significance of marriage as a social institution in traditional Indian society. Ram Chandra Acharya wrote about seven novels during 1924–1936. All his novels are historical romances based on the historical events in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Odisha. Mrutyunjay Rath's novel, Adbhuta Parinama, published in 1915, centres round a young Hindu who gets converted to Christianity to marry a Christian girl.

One of the great writers in the 20th century was Pandit Krushna Chandra Kar (1907–1995) from Cuttack, who wrote many books for children like Pari Raija, Kuhuka Raija, Panchatantra, Adi Jugara Galpa Mala, etc. He was last felicitated by the Sahitya Academy in the year 1971–72 for his contributions to Odia literature, development of children's fiction, and biographies.

One of the prominent writers of the 20th and 21st centuries was Muralidhar Mallick (1927–2002). His contribution to Historical novels is beyond words. He was last felicitated by the Sahitya Academy in the year 1998 for his contributions to Odia literature. His son Khagendranath Mallick (born 1951) is also a writer. His contribution towards poetry, criticism, essays, story and novels is commendable. He was the former President of Utkal Kala Parishad and also former President of Odisha Geeti Kabi Samaj. Presently he is a member of the Executive Committee of Utkal Sahitya Samaj. Another illustrious writer of the 20th century was Mr. Chintamani Das. A noted academician, he was written more than 40 books including fiction, short stories, biographies and storybooks for children. Born in 1903 in Sriramachandrapur village under Satyabadi block, Chintamani Das is the only writer who has written biographies on all the five 'Pancha Sakhas' of Satyabadi namely Pandit Gopabandhu Das, Acharya Harihara, Nilakantha Das, Krupasindhu Mishra and Pandit Godabarisha. Having served as the Head of the Odia department of Khallikote College, Berhampur, Chintamani Das was felicitated with the Sahitya Akademi Samman in 1970 for his outstanding contribution to Odia literature in general and Satyabadi Yuga literature in particular. Some of his well-known literary creations are 'Bhala Manisha Hua', 'Manishi Nilakantha', 'Kabi Godabarisha', 'Byasakabi Fakiramohan', 'Usha', 'Barabati'.

20th century writers in Odia include Pallikabi Nanda Kishore Bal, Gangadhar Meher, Chintamani Mahanti and Kuntala Kumari Sabat, besides Niladri Dasa and Gopabandhu Das. The most notable novelists were Umesa Sarakara, Divyasimha Panigrahi, Gopala Chandra Praharaj and Kalindi Charan Panigrahi. Sachi Kanta Rauta Ray is the great introducer of the ultra-modern style in modern Odia poetry. Others who took up this form were Godabarisha Mohapatra, Mayadhar Mansingh, Nityananda Mahapatra and Kunjabihari Dasa. Prabhasa Chandra Satpathi is known for his translations of some western classics apart from Udayanatha Shadangi, Sunanda Kara and Surendranatha Dwivedi. Criticism, essays and history also became major lines of writing in the Odia language. Esteemed writers in this field were Professor Girija Shankar Ray, Pandit Vinayaka Misra, Professor Gauri Kumara Brahma, Jagabandhu Simha and Harekrushna Mahatab. Odia literature mirrors the industrious, peaceful and artistic image of the Odia people who have offered and gifted much to the Indian civilisation in the field of art and literature. Now Writers Manoj Das's creations motivated and inspired people towards a positive lifestyle. Distinguished prose writers of the modern period include Baidyanath Misra, Fakir Mohan Senapati, Madhusudan Das, Godabarisha Mohapatra, Kalindi Charan Panigrahi, Surendra Mohanty, Manoj Das, Kishori Charan Das, Gopinath Mohanty, Rabi Patnaik, Chandrasekhar Rath, Binapani Mohanty, Bhikari Rath, Jagadish Mohanty, Sarojini Sahoo, Yashodhara Mishra, Ramchandra Behera, Padmaja Pal. But it is poetry that makes modern Odia literature a force to reckon with. Poets like Kabibar Radhanath Ray, Sachidananda Routray, Guruprasad Mohanty, Soubhagya Misra, Ramakanta Rath, Sitakanta Mohapatra, Rajendra Kishore Panda, Pratibha Satpathy have made significant contributions towards Indian poetry.

Anita Desai's novella, Translator Translated, from her collection The Art of Disappearance, features a translator of a fictive Odia short story writer; the novella contains a discussion of the perils of translating works composed in regional Indian languages into English.

Four writers in Odia – Gopinath Mohanty, Sachidananda Routray, Sitakant Mahapatra and Pratibha Ray – have been awarded the Jnanpith, an Indian literary award.

Sample text[edit]

The following is a sample text in Odia of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (ମାନବିକ ଅଧିକାରର ସାର୍ବଜନୀନ ଘୋଷଣା):

Odia in the Odia script

ଅନୁଚ୍ଛେଦ ୧: ସମସ୍ତ ମନୁଷ୍ୟ ଜନ୍ମକାଳରୁ ସ୍ୱାଧୀନ ଏବଂ ମର୍ଯ୍ୟାଦା ଓ ଅଧିକାରରେ ସମାନ । ସେମାନଙ୍କଠାରେ ବୁଦ୍ଧି ଓ ବିବେକ ନିହିତ ଅଛି ଏବଂ ସେମାନଙ୍କୁ ପରସ୍ପର ପ୍ରତି ଭ୍ରାତୃତ୍ୱ ମନୋଭାବରେ ବ୍ୟବହାର କରିବା ଉଚିତ୍ ।

Odia in IAST

Anuccheda eka: Samasta manuṣya janmakāḷaru swādhīna ebaṅ marẏyādā o adhikārare samāna. Semānaṅkaṭhāre buuddhi o bibeka nihita achi ebaṅ semānaṅku paraspara prati bhrātr̥twa manobhābare byabahāra karibā ucit.

Odia in the IPA

ɔnut͡ːʃʰed̪ɔ ekɔ: sɔmɔst̪ɔ mɔnuʂjɔ d͡ʒɔnmɔkaɭɔɾu swad̪ʱinɔ ebɔŋ mɔɾd͡ʒjad̪a o ɔd̪ʱikaɾɔɾe sɔmanɔ. semanɔŋkɔʈʰaɾe bud̪ːʱi o bibekɔ niɦit̪ɔ ɔt͡ʃʰi ebɔŋ semanɔŋku pɔɾɔspɔɾɔ pɾɔt̪i bʱɾat̪ɾut̪wɔ mɔnobʱabɔɾe bjɔbɔɦaɾɔ kɔɾiba ut͡ʃit̪


Article 1: All human beings from birth are free and dignity and rights are equal. Their reason and intelligence endowed with and they towards one another in a brotherhood spirit behaviour to do should.


Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Google introduced the first automated translator for Odia in 2020.[63] Microsoft too incorporated Odia in its automated translator later that year.[64]

See also[edit]


  1. parts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh that are near the border with Odisha


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  43. Mathai & Kelsall 2013, pp. 4–6. The precise figures are 75–76%. This was based on comparisons of 210-item wordlists.
  44. "Sambalpuri". Ethnologue.
  45. CENSUS OF INDIA 2011. "LANGUAGE" (PDF). Government of India. p. 7.
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  48. "Bhatri". Ethnologue. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  49. Masica (1991:16)
  50. Rabindra Nath Pati, Jagannatha Dash (2002). Tribal and Indigenous People of India: Problems and Prospects. New Delhi: APH PUBLISHING CORPORATION. pp. 51–59. ISBN 81-7648-322-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  51. 51.0 51.1 Ray (2003:526)
  52. Cardona, George; Jain, Danesh (2003). The Indo-Aryan Languages. p. 488. ISBN 9781135797119.
  53. Ray (2003:488–489)
  54. Neukom, Lukas; Patnaik, Manideepa (2003)
  55. Masica (1991:97)
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  57. Ray (2003:490–491)
  58. Jain, D.; Cardona, G. (2007). The Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge language family series. Taylor & Francis. p. 450. ISBN 978-1-135-79711-9. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
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  61. Biswamoy Pati Situating social history: Orissa, 1800–1997 p30
  62. The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Volume Two) (Devraj To Jyoti): 2 p1030 ed. Amaresh Datta – 2006 "Amos Sutton also prepared a dictionary named Sadhu bhasharthabhidhan, a vocabulary of current Sanskrit terms with Odia definitions which was also printed in Odisha Mission Press in 1844."
  63. Statt, Nick (26 February 2020). "Google Translate supports new languages for the first time in four years, including Uyghur". The Verge. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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