Posts filed under ‘Grammer’

We should start a Kosal academy of language and culture: Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra

Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra is a senior researcher of language and culture. His research interests are multilingual education, tribal culture and oral tradition. Dr. Mishra is the founder member of Language and Learning Foundation, New Delhi and Folklore Foundation, Bhubaneswar, India. He talks to Dr. Sanjib K Karmee about his research work, Pandit Prayag Dutta Joshi and Kosli language.





April 20, 2017 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Aasa Kosli Sikhma: Introduction to Kosli language grammar and Varna for children (primer)

Following graphic is taken from the FB page of BENI:

August 4, 2012 at 7:19 am 4 comments

Evolution of language and Kosli grammar: An article by Prasanna Kumar Karabara

This report is taken from the Samaja. Our sincere thanks to the author for highlighting a rule of the Kosli language grammar. Saket Sahu (Editor Beni) and others have been advocating introduction of such simple rules in Kosli grammar.


January 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Multi-lingual education in Odisha and Kosli language

Following messages were sent by Dr. Arjun Purohit to different e-forums:

Part I

Dear all,

As a preamble to what I going to comment,please read Dr.Debi Patnaik’s article in Sambad which appeared in Sambad  around December 9,2011, which can be translated:*Multi-lingual education in Odisha :Plenty of opportunities taking leadership in bi-lingual/multi-lingual education in Odisha”. Earlier Dr.Patnaik vehemently argued about unilateral linguistic character of Odisha, and was opposed to recognising relevance and identity of Koshali language as a separate language. This was in response to our posting(Purohit and Karmee) in this forum about the advisability and possibility of inclusion of Koshali in the 8th schedule. I wrote a four part series as rebuttal to Dr.Patnaik’s assertion. So here is my response to Dr.Patnaik’s posting under question.

First of all, I heartily appreciate Dr.Patnaik’s  main themes in this article(1)Odisha is multi-lingual state, with two major languages,Odia and Koshali, and(2) Odisha should provide education  through the languages prevalent in the state. I also applaud Odisha government’s recent announcement re provision of instruction through some of the Adivashi languages. This is good. I hope Dr.Patnaik will  join me and fellow Koshalis in our quest for inclusion of Koshali in 8th schedule as soon as possible. I understand that recently Odisha government has recommended Ho to be included in the 8th schedule.As to why Odisha government is reticent in recognition of Koshali as a language in its own right is beyond me. This as you can imagine has caused severe bitterness in Koshal or Western Odisha region.As you know when in 1993 High level Commission was established, Indian government specifically asked the commission to exclude Bodo from deliberation because it had already promised Bodo people that Bodo would be included in the 8th schedule to quell the agitation of the students of the area.In the words of the Parliamentary committee,”3.2 However, in the light of the Bodo Accord signed between the Government of India on the one hand and All Bodo Students Union and Bodo People’s Action Committee on the other on 20 February, 1993, the Government decided to delink the matter of inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule from the issue of setting up of High Powered Body for evolving criteria for inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule”. Eventually Bodo along with Maithili,Dogri and Santhali were included in the 8 th schedule.So what one expects the Koshalis to do ? Become militant ? Violent ? Rasta Roko,Rail Roko? Learn a few pointers from Naxalites ? Is that the only way ? In what way,claims of these languages are any better than Koshali ? Is not the government indirectly encouraging Koshalis to go the way Bodo people took ? So far Koshalis are going through all the civil channels,such as, writing memorandums, providing documents of authenticity of our claim,producing literature, making movies,conducting seminars, engaging in debates, launching newspapers and periodicals and everything imaginable but to no effect. Odisha government should listen to Dr.Patnaik and act on his advice to have a dialogue with Koshalis re use of Koshali in primary and secondary education. or democracy to survive in India, population needs to be literate and all the impediments must be eliminated. The primary goal of education must be to prepare the population for the 21st century. As it stands now, aggressive Odianisation with a missionary zeal has resulted in putting huge part of population in  a disadvantage in education and consequent huge drop out rate in schools.Many provinces have more than one recognised language, and such measures enhances the cultural mix because of mutual respect between the language groups. Behind the opposition to recognition of Koshali, there is an oft repeated assertion that Koshali is nothing but a dialect of Odia. This is patently not true, and worse,it is paternalistic.Most coastal Odishans cant speak Koshali, nor they are familiar with any Koshali literature.They are much more familiar with Bengali in northern coastal area and with Telegu in southern area. So why this pretence ? Why not celebrate the linguistic diversity in Odisha in stead ?

Dr. Patnaik has given a hint of the ontogeny of Odia. In my next part I will elaborate on it  and will try to give a very brief idea of roots of Koshali.

 Part 2

Dr. Patnaik writes in his article: “Odisha is the meeting place of Ashtrik (Austroloid ?),Dravidian and Aryan languages.” I presume he means Adivashi languages as Ashtrik or Austroloid languages. True, but it can be said the same for all central Indian languages, which may differ significantly from Odia. Since Ramayana period Aryan language and culture has been spreading from northern India to the tip of southern India including Sri Lanka. Legend has it that it was Agastya rishi who was the first significant Aryan to cross the Vindhyas to establish his hermitage in the south. Nevertheless, all languages evolve in specific context of geography with its idiosyncratic features,unique experiences,historical dynamics,adjacent languages,religious nomenclature, and even climate among other things. I will try to provide a contrast between evolution of Odia and Koshali, though they are contiguous in geography.

As a lay man with passing interest in history let me try to give a brief snapshot of major influences on the evolution of Odia as a language.   Coastal Odisha,primarily parts of old Kalinga,parts of old Utkala,  Udra and Kangoda is in the temperate zone facing the sea to the east and Koshal to the west. It has been subjected to floods and usual turbulences associated with being near  the sea. Original inhabitants were different tribes, with their own languages. According to Sarat Behera,chronicler of Kongoda (Rise and Fall of Sailodbhabas),significant  Aryanisation of central coastal area,especially Kongoda area happened during Sailodbhaba period. Nevertheless, Brahmins always acted as intellectual mercenaries serving different kings; therefore they  must have entered the territories at various times even before that. Most of the coastal area was entered by various armies primarily through the north to south route along the coast line,such as,Nandas,Mauryas,Bhaumas,Gangas,Afgans,Moguls and British etc.except perhaps, Meghvahana and Somavanshis from Koshal in the west. Marathas entered by Mahanadi.

In the wake of these invasions,languages,religions,fashions,customs and what not were brought in and these had significant transformative influence on the language. One of the most significant impacts on Odia language is Arrival of 10,000 Brahmins by Jajati Keshari, the Somavanshi king. These Brahmins were responsible in Sanskrising Odia language like never before.During Somavanshi’s regime, Odia’s Script which was called Bartula Devanagari evolved. For a long time, it was considered a sacrilege to write anything in non-Sanskrit,;but once this taboo was broken by Sarala Das, Odia literature flourished.Today Odia is great language with a rich vocabulary mostly of Sanskrit origin but it also has footprints of many non-Sanskrit influences. Khan in his Muslim Administration of Orissa says that nearly 2000 Arab/Persian/Urdu words embellish Odia language. Even the short presence of Portuguese  had a little mark, for instance,the word ChAbi came from them(Source,B.C.Ray: Orissa Under The Moguls). The influence of English is too obvious to merit discussion. Odia language speakers are justifiably proud of their language. It has truly evolved into beautiful one. It also has developed great and unique musical styles rivalling other great musical traditions of India. Alhough I am a Koshali, I am in love with Odia language and literature,though with a distinct  accent.

I am no historian ,nor I can claim to be linguist, but from my personal experience, I find no little semblance between the Odia which might have been in vogue centuries ago and the one in present use. During my travel in Bali in Indonesia, where I met descendants of  Kalingans who settled there more than a thousand years ago, I found very little similarity between their language and Odia as spoken now. They use the same legends(Ramayana,for instance), the same deities, like Jagannath,Vishnu,Garuda, etc. but with rituals very different from that of Odisha now. In conclusion,Odia is not a static language; it continues to evolve; and hopefully will continue to be richer. However beyond Odisha’s border, be it Sadeikela/Kharsuan or Medinipur, Odia is slowly getting atrophied because of its lack of relevance in day to day life. Some fifty years ago, I have met descendants of Odias (originally of Puri) who had settled in a few villages near Darbhanga(Mathili speaking part of North Bihar) because one of the kings of Mithila brought them to settle there centuries ago.. They claim to speak Odia but it was hard for me to understand them. Thus, modern Odia has morphed into a very different and elegant form since the days of meeting of Dravidian,Aryan and Ashtric languages.

In the next part, I will try to give a very snapshot of roots of Koshali.

 Part 3

 Cntd. from Part 2

Though Koshal or Western Orissa too was the meeting ground Aryan, Dravidian and Adivashi cultural heritages, in many respects there are significant variables which are distinctly different from coastal Odisha. Koshal is full of hills and valleys, with fast flowing rivers and rivulets. And unlike coastal Odisha it is landlocked. Until it became a part of Odisha, the main and dominant connections of Koshal were with Northern India (modern Jharkhand and beyond) and Western India (modern Chhattisgarh and beyond) with significant contact with coastal region and marginal contact with Dravidian region. Mahanadi passes through Koshal originating through Chhattisgarh, a significant part of which is part of Greater Koshal, meeting the sea in coastal region. Mahanadi, being navigable year around, was the main artery of commerce as well as carrier of social contacts. Most of the significant political contacts were with west and north. Since it was the tail end of ancient Koshal of Puranic age, most of the cultural institutions are influenced by the north. The present note is not meant for delineating the long history of Koshal, but by the time Huen Tsang visited the region in 7thcentury AD, Greater Koshal was already known as Koshal  as a distinct region. British brought about 60 to 70 per cent of Koshali speaking area to the Bengal Presidency in early 1900s, which eventually became part of modern Odisha in 1936. During the long history of Koshal and Utkal/Kalinga, military conquests took place from either side. Political masters of Koshal such as Meghbahana Vansa and Somavanshis occupied Kalinga/Utkala, and Anangabhima Deva conquered Koshal. Never the less, Koshal even during brief subjugation retained its identity as a distinct region. The traumatic invasion and rule of Utkala/Kalinga by Ashoka as well as Afgans and Moguls was not experienced by Koshal region. The only attempted invasion of Muslim invasion of Koshal by Ismail Gaji, Commander-in-chief of Bengal Sultan Allaudin Hussain was routed in 1503  by Balaram Dev, who was then commander-in-chief of Koshal army.The Muslim army was defeated and eventually Balaram Dev became king of Koshal.   Koshal was briefly (5 to 6 years) occupied by Marathas but for a much longer period by Utkal/Kalinga.During British occupation, legendary armed revolt (1827 to 1864) led by Surendra Sai too well known to be detailed here. This is a very brief snapshot of the history highlighting some of the important events.

The religious scene in Koshal was dominated by Mahayana/Vajrayana Buddhism and Saiba/Sakta Tantrism, evidence of which abounds throughout the region. Nabin Sahu, well known historian, Padmasambhaba from Sambalpur went Tibbet at the invitation of Tibbetan monarch of 8th century and spread Vajrayan Buddhism. Voluminous writings by him as well as other Vajrayana Siddhas, like Nagarjuna (not Adi Nagarjuna), Indrabhuti, Laxminkara and Sakyamitra from Koshal suggest that Koshala was an important center of Sanskrit and Pali pedagogy. Vaishavism crept in gradually after Koshal was integrated with Odisha. Demographically, the region had twenty different tribes, some with their own language but all tribals are conversant with Koshali. Aryanisation of the area took place in drips and drabs without any sudden influx as it happened in Kalinga/Utkal. There is evidence of existence of many Srotriya Brahmins usually under the tutelage of various kings and chieftains. Balaram Dev in 16 th century  brought a few Brahmins and Karans, who took over priestly duties and administrative functions. Previous to that Gonds were the main civil servants. During Muslim occupation of coastal Odisha, more Brahmins came to Koshal probably to escape Muslim atrocity against Brahmins there. In this historical context Koshali language developed.

In the next part, I will try to highlight the main features of Koshali language.

 Part 4

Cont. from Part 3

 In this note, I will illustrate some of the features of Koshali language which are derived from some of the sources described before. My challenge is how to deal with this vast topic in the body of this note. As a starter I urge readers to be familiar with three works which will be good context to this note: 1.Koshali Bhasha Ra Sankhipta Parichaya by Pragnadatta Joshi(Ed) Dr.Dolgobinda Joshi, 2.Sambalpuri Odia Shabda Kosha by Dr.Prafulla Kumar Tripathy, and3.Sambalpuri Koshali Vyakarana by Dr.Nila Madhaba Panigrahi and Dr.Prafulla Kumar Tripathy. By necessity, I will give only samples and will not dwell on the theoretical possibilities.

From our Adivashi roots, we have inherited a vast vocabulary, especially connected to intimate connection with natural surroundings::Dangar {hill), Dungri (small hill), Jor (fast flowing rivulet), Unkia (morning light) etc. Other words; DhangrA( young man), DhAngri(young woman), Bui(young lady from a respected family).Bua(father),BhuskA, Bhuski(Fat man,Fat woman). One of the Siddhas named in Yogini Kosha (10 th Century?) is BhuskApA, probably a Koshali.

Pali source: UdurchA (Sanskrit equivalent Uddhata) to be found in Abhidharma Kosha of Trpitaka as one of the Akushala dharma.

Sanskrit: Kindrikari (to go around), Nani (young girl, Sk.: Nandini); ButA (Brutti), Bhuti, meaning wage in Koshali (Bhukti)

Northern source: Sentence structure where negative is placed before verb unlike in Odia: Ex. Mui nain Jae (Koshali) but Mu jibi nahi (Odia); Chanti (ant, pimpudi in Odia), etc.

Western Source: Gudi (temple) as used in Marathi/Bidarbhi, etc…

Tantrik Heritage: The word Puja used sometimes with added meaning, sacrifice (BaLi). In verb form, Pujidemi means I will chop the head off; from the same word, Pajei means sharpening the cutting instrument.

There are many words which are used with different meaning Koshali and Odia, such as NanA (father in some parts in coastal Odisha but father’s sister in Koshali), ChhenA (cheese in Odia but dried cow dung in Koshali.

Thus, archeological dig into Koshali language reveals stamp of most of roots of Koshali heritage. But vocabulary by itself does not make a language. It has to be means of communication in all day to day affairs. Koshali language has been shaped over centuries and has adequately served this purpose. It has different tone, timbre and rhythm, which distinguish itself from Odia, just as Odia has its own stylistic features… The rhythm of Koshali songs is markedly different from Odia.  For instance, Champu fits so well to Odia, just as Dalkhai fits to Koshali. Singing Champu in Koshali will sound bad as Dalkhai in Odia.

How resilient is Koshali? In spite of aggressive Odianisation of Koshal region, Koshali not only survives but also thrives. Odia remains as second language for Koshalis who invariably speak Koshali at home as well as in their day to day social intercourse.

In 1969,Rajendra Lal Mitra argued in Cuttack: if Bengali could successfully replace Odia in the district of Midnapore then why it could not do so in the other three districts of the Orissa Division under the Bengal Presidensy as well which comprised of a population of barely 20 lakhs ?(Source:A.K.Mishra in The Raj;Nationalists and Refrorms). Well, he was wrong, just as the attempt to extinguish Koshali in Koshal region has proved to be wrong. When Orissa was formed in 1936, it started with a population of 8,043,681 including the then undivided Sambalpur district but excluding princely states. Now the Koshal region has about 15 million people. So if less than 8 million or so people can be a linguistic unit, why 15 million people will have to be deprived of the similar status?

I will conclude this series with a last part.

Part 5

 Contd from part 4

 In the body of his essay, Dr.Patnaik says,”There should be Orissa wide policy on languages. It is essential that regions should develop their own identity. Such identity should be respected…..” This is a welcome suggestion. He continues,” In Odisha, there is plenty of opportunity for leadership in being involved in the educational field of bi-lingual and multi-lingual education.” This is a wise observation, and the Odisha government should take it seriously. In a democracy, access to education as well as all the public services should be accessible to all citizens irrespective of language spoken; geography lived in, religion adopted, or any other similar barriers. For generations Koshalis have been disadvantaged in more ways than one, especially in the field of education, simply  because they speak a different language, and live in different region Persistent efforts have been made to marginalise Koshali language, and it has been disconnected with education. So Dr.Patnaik’s suggestion should be taken seriously by the policy makers.

I do have concern over his statement when he says,” If such regional identity leads to division of the state, this tendency should be vigorously resisted”. For far too long due recognition of Koshali has not been given to Koshalis because many well- known coastal intellectuals have argued that such recognition will lead to regionalism, and eventual division of the  state. Koshali was simply relegated as a dialect of Odia. Right now there is a growing movement for separation because of serious inter-regional imbalance combined with non-abating continuous trend to concentrate most of the resources in the sixty mile zone in the coastal area. Non-recognition of Koshali language is one of many reasons why separation movement is gaining momentum. Unless this issue is resolved, there would be continuous state of turmoil in the province.

So Quo Vadis  from here ?  In my humble opinion, once one accepts the obvious reality that Odisha is a multi-lingual state with two major languages, then one should give Koshali the same stutus as Odia and adjust the delivery of public services including education not only in Odia and Koshali but also in indigenous languages where these two major languages are not spoken. The government should also move fast in facilitating the inclusion of Koshali in the 8th schedule.

Thank you for your patience.

Season’s Greetings

Arjun Purohit

PS: Forgive typos

January 8, 2012 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Recognition and development of Kosli language: A powerful writing by Prasanna Kumar Karabara

Following is an article from the Samaja (Cuttack-Morning   Nov 21, 2011   Page 6  online edition). My thanks to the honorable writer for very good analysis and logical conclusion.Click here to download the complete pdf.

November 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm 1 comment

Kosli language: A fresh look on its distinction and evolution

Following write-up is taken from koslisahitya blog:

Compiled and Edited by Saket Sreebhushan Sahu


Kosli is an ancient language and it is one of the five Prakrit languages existing since Vedic era along with Sanskrit. However, some recent research done at Sambalpur University claims Kosli as a distinct language as a result of which the University has introduced a One year Diploma course.

Area where Kosli is used

A large area encompassing the western part of Odisha popularly known as Kosal region; Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Balangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Boud, Phulbani and Northern Koraput regions; parts of Chattisgarh; Bhatri region of Bastar district, and from eastern part of Debhog, Phuljhar, Raigarh, Sarangarh to Jashpur uses Kosli as its mother tongue. Out of the total population of Odisha (36706920) about two crore population uses Kosli according to 2001 census.

Kosli is an Independent Language:

A group of scholars claims Kosli language as a mere dialect of Odia language. Odia scholars have analysed the language of Kosal region less scientifically and more politically. Though the constitution of India guarantees to safeguard a distinct language, script or culture of minorities vide its provision in article 29(1) & 30(1), Kosli is seen not enjoying its due rights.

Kosli is a direct derivative of Sanskrit. Each and every word is enriched with deep meaning and full of life. The soulful representation of its culture and environment is its insignia and represents its independency. For example, let discuss the origin of few Kosli words:

a) khaman means jungle. Khaman originates from Sanskrit word Khaban.
Khaban means sky touching jungle (AakaShaspaRShi baNa)
Kh = AakaSh [sky]
According to the rule of Prakrit: Ba > Ma
Hence, Khaban = Khaman.

b) khglA is a traditional ornament put on around neck by ladies.
Kh = AakAsh (sky) = sunyA (blanks) = round shaped
So, khglA is ‘kh’ (round shaped) around ‘galA’ (neck)

c) khpsA ( a kind of air breathing fish)
This fish is found moving up towards the sky through date tree so its name is derived or given from this unique feature. Please mark the formation of the word as below:
Kh = AakAsh (sky)
kasati gachhati iti > khakshh > khaksA (kas-kash gatou soutra dhatu)
The name of this fish in Odia is ‘gaDishA’ which means the fish which rolls. There is no such vast imagination as like as there it is found in Kosli language.

d) kulihA (Jackal)
This animal is fond of crab and it search crab from holes in crop fields so ‘kulihA’ word forms as below from this activity:
kulirNg hanti iti kulirahA > kulihA

e) karlA (Bitter Melon)
The formation of the word ‘karlA’ is a very strong example to prove that the claim of Odia scholars is vague that Kosli is not a dialect of Odia and words of Kosli are not formed simply by deforming Odia words rather it supports in favour of formations of Odia from Kosli.
Sanskrit > Prakrit > Hindi > Kosli > Odia
kArbell (Sanskrit) > kArell (Prakrit) > karelA (Hindi) > karlA (Kosli) > kaLarA (Odia)

Few more examples:
Sanskrit > Prakrit> Kosli
AtasI > AlasI > Alasi
AamRam >AmbNGa >Aam
AadRam > Aallam/AdhNGa > Ol, Uda

Genealogical analysis shows two different sources of origin of the two languages; Odiya and Kosli. One is from the Magadhi Prakrit and another from Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit. So there are remarkable differences between the two in the sphere of phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax.

Noteworthy to mention here that like other Indo-Aryan languages, formation of words in Kosli consist of two types of morphemes – Free Morpheme and Bound Morpheme. One can notice the less use of free morphemes both in Odiya and Kosli but the words formed with both free and bound morphemes are more in use as lexical items (parts of speech) in sentences. According to the system of formation of words in almost all the languages in India, the bound morphemes are of three types:

A. Case Endings (used with nouns / pronouns)
B. Derivatives (known as Taddhita or Krdanta in Indian grammar).
C. Tense Endings (used in verbal roots to signify number, person and tense).

Followings are few examples from all three categories which clarify the distinction of Kosli.

Case Endings

Case endings are the suffix used both in nominal and pronominal declensions. They are generally used as suffixes in all the languages of Aryan family including Odiya and Kosli.

Let us examine the nominative case endings (otherwise known as Prathamã Vibhakti) of both Odiya and Kosli language. These case endings always are some suffixes. Both in Odiya and Kosli ‘mãne’ suffix are widely used as a bound morpheme to indicate plural number. In Odiya, this suffix was used rarely and in ancient literature like ‘Sãralã Mãhãbhãrat’, where two bound morphemes were in use to indicate plural number i.e. rajãganamãne (kings). So the use of plural suffixes in nominal case was arbitrary and loose. This ‘Mãne’ suffix which is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘mãnya’ (honour) and though it is used in Odiya, not in its sister languages such as Bengali and Assamease. But it is used as such in Kosli and in Chhattisgarhi as ‘-man’, just adjacent to the Kosli speaking region. So this plural maker suffix seems to have come from Kosal region to Odiya. This suffix is used in Odiya as well as in Kosli. But there is another peculiar type of use in Kosli which is not found in Odiya. The ‘-mãne’ suffix is not used with the proper nouns in Odiya but it is used even in proper nouns in Kosli such as ‘Rãmamãne’ (Rãma and others), Sabitãmãne (Sabita and others) etc. In sentence it is used as following:

1. Rãmamãne jãuchan (Rãma and others are going)
2. Sabitã mane gãuchan (Sabitã and others are singing)

Let us come to the suffix (accusative case maker) ‘-ke’ or ‘-mánke’ for singular and plural in Kosli. In standard Odiya ‘-ku’ ‘-nku’ and ‘mãnaãku’ suffix is used in this case. So responsibility of linguists does end with the comments that the Kosli singular accusative ‘-ke’ is used in lieu of ‘-ku’/ ‘-ñku’ in Odiya and it is a corrupted form of the latter. But there is a noticeable peculiarity in Kosli regarding the use of the suffix ‘-ke’ that it is used with the first person and second person singular number where as it is not so in Odiya.

make (to me) pãn nãi bhallãge – I do not like paan.

take (to you) mui kichi nãi di – I have not given anything to you.

The underlined words – make (ma+ke) and take (ta+ke) in the above sentences shows the use of accusative morpheme ‘-ke’ with first person singular ma (oblique form of mu) and second person singular ta (oblique from of tui) respectively. In Odiya two oblique form ‘mate’ and ‘tate’ in this case are used instead of mku and tuku as ‘-ku’ suffix is not added to ‘m’ and ‘tu’, the stem of first and second person singular number. But it is evident that in old Odiya literature of Sãralã Das this type of use of the accusative suffix ‘–ku’ directly to the stem such as tuku (tu+ku) and muku(mu+ku) has been attested akin to Kosli language. Now, in modern Odiya this type of use ‘muku’ and ‘tuku’ for first person singular and second person singular is not correct. Instead, mate and tate/tote two oblique forms are used for them. But in Kalahandi region of Kosli speaking tract, the use of ‘make’ ‘toke’/‘take’ is still alive as fossil which throws light to the development of Odiya as well as Kosli morphology. An important feature is to be observed that the accusative morpheme ‘-ke’ as discussed above is exactly used in Bengali such as –ãmãke (to me) and tomãke (to you). In Hindi it is found as –ko/kai.

In standard Odiya, the instrumental case maker suffixes or morphemes (known as tritiya vibhakti) are –re, -dwárá, -dei, -kartruka in singular and another morpheme ‘-mánañka’ is used before then to make it plural. The peculiarity of Kosli language is the suffixes used in Odiya are not at all used. Other types of suffixes such as –na (from skt-ena) and -bute (derived from Sanskrit (britte) are in use as instrumental case maker.

For Example:

1. bãdina mãra (beat with the stick)
2. karrina kãta (cut with the knife)
3. hetãrbute kãm phaskã (he is of no use). Besides one ‘-thi’ suffix is also used for making instrumental case such as ‘-dã’thi’ (with the sickle), karri’thi (with the knife) etc. This ‘-thi’ seem to have come from the Sanskrit word ‘stita’.

In ablative case otherwise known as (Panchmi Vibhakti) the bound morphemes used in standard Odiya are –ru, -thiru, -thãru (in singular) etc. where as in Kosli they are –u, -nu and –thu in singular. The plural maker morpheme ‘-mãnkar’ is used before them and added to the stem, which is common in all cases to denote plural. The uses in Kosli are as following:

1. -u : gachu phall padlã (the fruit fell down from the tree)
2. –nu : gachnu phall padlã (the fruit fell down from the tree)
3. –thu : gachthu phall padlã – (the fruit fell down from the tree)

Noteworthy to see here that the above ‘–nu’ suffix is not in use Odiya now, but in old Odiya inscription, the suffix is used once as hastãnanu (from hand). Another peculiarity of ablative case maker suffix is ‘-s’. It is rarely used to limited words and derived from the Prakrit suffix – ‘-s’ directly. The use of Kosli is as such – belsu tarkithá (be alert from the right time).

In locative case both in Odiya and Kosli, the case maker suffixes are almost same as used in their instrumental case. For example ‘-re’ in Odiya and ‘-na’ in Kosli. In both the language one suffix -tha (from Sanskrit stãna – place) is prefixed to them and they become a compound morpheme such as thã+ne – thãne in Kosli and thãre in Odiya. The use of –na (or na+e = -ne) is not there in Odiya. The use is very wide such as – Jangal na badã bãg achan (there are many tigers in the jungle). The Kosli suffix –na/ne in locative is equivalent to the English preposition in/on/over etc.


Besides the case maker morphemes as discussed above, there are some derivative suffixes, which show separate identity of Kosli language. One –ti suffix is used in Kosli to denote a smaller size of a thing or size in miniature. For example –bandh+li = bandhli (small pond), hãt+li = hatli (a small market), tupã + li = tupli (a small basket). In Odiya the use of –uli suffix is there but they are limited in use in words like kha+tli = khatli (small cut).

Tense Ending

In verbal declension also there are some remarkable peculiarities in Kosli language which differ from Odiya language. The use of ‘-mi’ morpheme in future tense for first person and ‘-si’ morpheme in present indefinite tense for third person are two apparent speciality of the language. Both the morpheme ‘-mi’ ‘-si’ came from Sanskrit directly as such (i.e. Sanskrit: karomi, pathámi and karosi, pathasi etc.) The use of both the morphemes is as following.

-mi: -mui khãemi (I shall eat)
mui jimi ( I shall go)
-si :- Rãma khãesi (Rama eats)
Rãma jãesi (Rama goes) etc.

The use of –mi suffix (morpheme) is current in Oirya in Baleswar districts. But largely, Odiya language uses ‘-bi’ (such as kháibi) in this case. Though the above two morphemes in conjugation is not there in standard Odiya, the use is attested in archaic Odiya literature such as Charyãpada and Sãralã Mãhãbhãrat. In the Charyápada the words like mãrami (I shall kill), lemi (I shall take) are found and in Sarala Mãhãbharata the use of –si such as karási, jãesi are easily noticeable. It tends to believe the scholars that the ‘Kosli’ language of Kosal region or Sambalpur tract has trickled down to coastal Orissa or ancient Odradesa and contributed substantially in the development of Odiya language. That is why the relics are still alive in Kosli as discussed.


Peculiarities of Sambalpuri Language in Its Morphology; Dr. Ashok Kumar Dash, Surta, pg 35-38, Ed. Saket Sreebhushan Sahu, 2009.
Kosli Bhasa Ra Sankhipta Parichay, Kosal Ratna Prayagdutta Joshi, pg 6, 7, 16, 17, Ed. Dr. Dolagobinda Bishi, 1991.


October 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm 2 comments

Kosli language: Some thoughts and technicalities by Dr. Nilakantha Rath

Following letters were sent to me by Dr. Nilakantha Rath:

Kosli language: Some thoughts and technicalities Part-1

Kosli language: Some thoughts and technicalities Part-2

NOTE: This is a conversation between Mr. Saket Sahu and Dr. Nilakantha Rath. This is nice that people are discussing about Kosli language in a very intelligent way. I hope such discussions will continue.

September 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

Open Letter to PM: Kosli Language should be in 8th schedule

Following report is from

IN THE past few years the central government has included different Indian languages in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution by the recommendation of various committees.  It shows prudence on the part of the Indian government in being flexible in recognizing the complexity of linguistic diversity in India. In 2003, the 93rd Constitutional Amendment was passed which enabled the government to have a fresh look at the possibility of inclusion of other Indian languages in the 8th schedule. Consequently, four languages, viz. Bodo, Dogri, Santhali and Maithili were judged to be included in the 8th schedule. We the people of Western Odisha were hoping that Kosli be included as well because our situation is identical to that of Maithili as it is explained in the following sections of this memo.

Therefore, we humbly request you to examine our request by the same yardstick used to include the four recent languages in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. It is said that the right of a mother tongue is a basic cultural right of the people which link them with their economy, socio-cultural system and political right. UNESCO has recognized that the concept of language equality among all languages is important irrespective of whether the languages have a script or not. Furthermore, the Indian government is promoting the mother tongue based multilingual education to reduce the school drop-out rates and to enhance communication using a mother tongue. This is a good and praiseworthy initiative taken by the Indian government. In this regard, the Kosli language (also called Kosli-Sambalpuri, Sambalpuri) is the mother tongue of ten districts of western Orissa (Kosal region) viz. Balangir, Bargarh.In addition, a large population of Raipur, Mahasamund and Raigarh districts of Chhattisgarh state also uses Kosli language as their mother tongue.  The Kosli language and literature is vast as it is blessed with a group of dedicated writers. A large number of books are published regularly and available in the Kosli language. Epics such as ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Meghduta’ are translated into Kosli language. Kosli language has a rich literature in different areas viz. Architecture, Astrology, Mantra-Tantra-Yantra science, Medicine, Yoga, Music, Arts, Dance, Drama, Yoga, Philosophy, and Grammar. Kosli dramas, songs, and dances are popular across the world. Kosli dramas are highly acclaimed and regularly staged at various places of India. For instance, a recent Kosli language play ‘Maau’ is aiming to enter the Limca record book by becoming the biggest ever stage show of its kind in the world.

The Kosli language cinema is attracting worldwide attention. ‘Bukha (Hunger)’ a Kosli language movie has won the Indian national award, an international jury award at the Gijón International Film Festival, Spain and was selected for World Rural Film Festival, Aurrilac, France. The All India Radio (viz. Sambalpur, Balangir, and Bhawanipatna) and television channels (viz. Nxatra news and OTV) are broadcasting their news and entertainment programs in Kosli language. More than five registered newspapers and seventy magazines are available in Kosli language. Unfortunately, Kosli language has no political and official support although there was a discussion in the Indian parliament to include Kosli language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution. Recently, the Odisha government has recommended the Ho language for its inclusion in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution. This is a welcome step. Along this line, we sincerely hope that the Odisha government will recommend Kosli language for the inclusion in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution.  For the people of western Orissa it is not just a language but a way of life that propel progresses and harmony in the region.

The inclusion of Kosli language in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution will have following positive impacts on the people of western Orissa.

The key to development of western Odisha is the Kosli language. Drop-out rate in schools particularly in rural and Adivashi area can be ascribed to, among other variables, teaching in Odia language which is not used in day to day communication. It is as if learning through an alien language. Kosli is the dominant means of communication throughout western Odisha. Though we have several tribal languages, all tribals have functional capability in Kosli not Odia. That is the main reason why KBK has been found literacy rate is so low. We also have large population of scheduled caste in the area who are similarly impacted. It has caused various problems viz. i) the overall marks of students from western Orissa are lower than the students of coastal Orissa and ii) many bright students of western Orissa fail again and again in both 10th and 10+2 examinations because of their poor knowledge in Odia language. Recognition of Kosli language will facilitate education among the kids of western Orissa in their mother tongue and solve the above mentioned problems.

Freedom of expression in legislative and social sphere: In spite of aggressive Odianisation, population of western Orissa has retained Kosli language for day to day communication. In large population centers where people of other states, especially from Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat and other North Indian area have come to work, they have opted Kosli instead of Odia because the accent of Kosli follows North Indian pattern. And when poor Koslis go out of their area to seek employment they choose to go to other Hindi speaking area such as Chhattisgarh, U.P, Bihar and Jharkhand instead of Odia speaking area in Odisha.

Inclusion of Kosli language in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution will promote the culture and heritage of western Orissa. Keeping the above mentioned points into consideration we request you to recommend the inclusion of Kosli language in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

September 24, 2011 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

Few pictures of Dr Nilamadhab Panigrahi: A pioneer of Kosli language movement

Click here to download the PDF

August 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Mother tongue based multilingual education: Kosli language as a medium of instruction in the schools of western Odisha

Following paragraph is taken from

 …………….Two states in India – Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Orissa – have started mother tongue based multilingual education (MLE) on a pilot basis for tribal children. AP started MLE in 8 tribal mother tongues (MTs) in 2004 and Orissa in 10 tribal MTs in 2006. The states have the program in over 500 schools with first batch of children in grades IV and V, respectively, in AP and Orissa; AP is adding over 2300 schools in the year 2011 and Orissa is scheduled to add 500 schools. Few more states are also expected to join the MLE movement in India. Jharkhand, Assam and Chhattisgarh are already planning to start MLE in the states. Mother tongue based MLE is now an international movement especially for those from dominated minor, minority and marginalized languages and suffering negative consequences of submersion and assimilation forms of education in non-mother tongue languages ……………………….

The above thing is an eye opener for all of us. This is a good start by the government. Along this line Kosli language should be used as the medium of instruction in the schools of western Odisha districts and Athmallik subdivision. On this topic please see our earlier discussions:

 ● Kosli language waits for govt’s nod for inclusion in the Indian constitution

Parliament debates on Kosli language

● Recent advances on Kosli language

● The Sambad (Odia daily) on our discussion of Kosli language

Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part I)

Responses to the article entitled ‘Matrubhasha O Maanak Bhasha’ by Debi Prasanna Patnaik   published in the ‘Sambad’ on 22nd July 2011 (Part II)

● Dr Arjun Purohit’s response to Debi babu’s article on Kosli language

● Kosli language should be a subject and the medium of instruction in primary classes : Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra

July 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm 4 comments

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