A language of India

Alternate Names
Mahili, Mahle, Mahli

33,000 in India (2007), decreasing. Population total all countries: 36,000. Ethnic population: 278,000 (2007).


Jharkhand, Chotanagpur region, Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Gumla, Santal Pargana, Lohardaga, West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, Saraikela Kharsawan, and Dhanbad districts; Odisha, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, and Keonjhar districts; West Bengal, Jalpaiguri and West Medinipur districts; Assam, on tea estates.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Possible dialect of Santhali [sat]. Lexical similarity: 69%–87% between varieties of Mahali, 68%–93% with Santhali [sat], 53%–59% with Mundari [unr].

Language Use

Most in Jharkhand reported Santhali [sat], Sadri [sck] or Mundari [unr] as their mother tongue rather than Mahali. May be a threatened language. Home, village, private prayer for half the L1 speakers in Jharkhand. Also use Bengali [ben], Hindi [hin], Munda [unx], Mundari [unr], Oriya [ory], Santhali [sat].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 12% for Jharkhand (20% male, 4% female) (1981 census); 32% for Odisha (2001 census).
Other Comments

Mahli is a Scheduled Tribe, reported to speak Sadri [sck] as L1 in Jharkhand, the Thar dialect of Dhatki [mki] in Odisha, and Bengali in West Bengal. Hindu.

Also spoken in:

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