Dialects in Uttrakhand

Dialects in Uttrakhand

Dialects of kumaoni language

Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages, and is spoken by over 2,360,000 (1998) people of Indian states of Uttarakhand – Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Rudrapur (Udhamsingh Nagar) districts; Uttar pradesh; Assam; Bihar; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra and Punjab, besides being spoken in some regions of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. Amongst its dialects, the Central Kumauni is spoken in Almora and northern Nainital, North-eastern Kumauni is in Pithoragarh, South-eastern Kumauni is in South-eastern Nainital, Western Kumauni is west of Almora and Nainital. “UNESCO’s ‘Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger ‘designates Kumaoni as language in the unsafe category and which requires consistent conservation efforts”.  Dialects of Kumaon regionIn all, there are 20 dialects spoken in the Kumaon region, including, Johari, Majh Kumaiya, Danpuriya, Askoti, Sirali, Soryali, Chaugarkhyali, Kumaiya, Gangoli, Khasparjia, Phaldakoti, Pachhai, and Rauchaubhaisi.

  • Kali Kumaon,
  • Central Kumaoni
  • North-Eastern Kumaoni
  • South-Eastern Kumaoni
  • Western Kumaoni
  • Askoti of Askot
  • Bhabhri of Ramnagar
  • Chaugarkhiyali of Chaugarkha
  • Danpuriya of Danpur
  • Gangoli of Ganai-Gangoli (Gangolihat)
  • Johari of Malla and Talla Johar
  • Khasparjiya of Almora
  • Kumaiyya of Champawat
  • Pachhai of Pali-Pachhhau (Ranikhet, Dwarahat)
  • Pashchimi Phaldakotiya of Phaldkot Rhau-Chaubyansi, (Nainital)
  • Sirali of Sirakot (Didihat)
  • Soriyali of Sor Valley (Pithoragarh)
  • Baitada of Baitadi ,
  • Darchula and parts of Bajhang District in Nepal Dotiyali of Doti

Dialects of Garhwali language

Garhwali is a regional language which is spoken in the northwestern Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The language has many dialects like Srinagariya, Badhani, Tehri, Lohbya, Jaunsari etc. which differ from one another. For instance, people in Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal speak a different type of Garhwali which often is hard to understand by the people of other community.  Garhwali belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages.

It is often the first language of the Garhwali community living in Uttarakhand, although they do understand Hindi. One can find a lot of migrant Garhwali speaking population in Delhi and National Capital Region.

It is spoken by over 22 lakh people in India as per the Census.  Garhwali has mostly been existent as a spoken language that was passed on from one generation to another, verbally. Even the culture consisted of folklore, folk songs which were told verbally. Today, one can find Garhwali prevalent in the form of songs. It has been popularised through folk singers like Narendra Singh Negi. Apart from Uttarakhand, Garhwali language has even been established in cities like Delhi and Mumbai where Garhwali Kavi Sammelans have been hosted.


Jaunsari is a language which is spoken by the Jaunsari tribal community of Uttarakhand. It is a Western Pahari language and is spoken by 1 lakh people in India. The Jaunsari tribe is found in the Jaunsar-Bawar region of Dehradun district and is considered a scheduled tribe as per the Constitution of India. This tribe believes themselves to be the descendants of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Jaunsari language is regarded as a dialect of Garhwali language, but it listed as another language because Jaunsari is a significant tribal community of Uttarakhand. Today, Jaunsari is a “definitely endangered” language as per the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger.

Hindi spoken in Uttrakhand

Hindi is one of the major languages of Uttarakhand and is spoken by the majority of the population. In the recent year, the state has seen a rise in the Hindi speaking population, making it the highest the state has seen, around 88.26% of the total population.  Hindi is the official language of the state of Uttarakhand, and even the illiterate can understand this language. Hindi is also one of the official languages of India as recognised by the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. It is taught in schools and is used as a medium to teach other subjects as well. Even in the schools located in the remote areas of Uttarakhand, Hindi is the language in use. Although it isn’t the mother tongue of the people living in the remote regions of Garhwal or Kumaon, it is the one they are educated in.

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