A language of India

Alternate Names
Har, Hor, Samtali, Sandal, Sangtal, Santal, Santali, Santhiali, Satar, Sentali, Sonthal

5,940,000 in India (2001 census). Population total all countries: 6,228,500.


Bihar, Bhagalpur and Munger districts; Jharkhand, Manbhum and Hazaribagh districts; Odisha, Balasore district; West Bengal, Birbhum and Bankura districts; Assam; Mizoram; Tripura.

Language Status

4 (Educational). Statutory language of provincial identity in Jharkhand State (1950, Constitution, Schedule VIII), amended 2003.


Kamari-Santali, Karmali (Khole), Lohari-Santali, Manjhi, Paharia. Reportedly similar to Ho [hoc], Mundari [unr], and Munda [unx].


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; no noun classes or genders; content q-word in situ; 1 prefix, up to 3 suffixes; clause constituents indicated by case-marking; verbal affixation marks person and number; non-ergative; both tense and aspect; passives and voice; nontonal; 33 consonant and 6 vowel phonemes.

Language Use

Used as L2 by Birhor [biy], Ho [hoc], Kharia [khr], Kharia Thar [ksy], Mahali [mjx].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 10%–30%. Literacy rate in L2: 25%–50%. Taught in primary schools. Poetry. Magazines. New media. Radio programs. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1914–2005.

Bengali script [Beng]. Devanagari script [Deva], used in Nepal. Latin script [Latn], used in Bangladesh. Ol Chiki (Ol Cemet’, Ol, Santali) script [Olck]. Oriya script [Orya].

Other Comments

A Scheduled Tribe. Language of Santhal tribals of Chota Nagpur Plateau (comprising the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh). Hindu, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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