593,000 (2001 census). L2 users: 200,000 (2001 C. Thomas).
Madhya Pradesh, Balaghat district; Chhattisgarh, Bastar district plains; Maharashtra, Gondia district; Odisha, Koraput district; Andhra Pradesh.
3 (Wider communication).
Adkuri, Bastari, Bhunjia, Chandari, Gachikolo, Govari of Balaghat, Kawari, Kunbi, Mahari (Mahara, Mehari), Muri (Muria), Sundi. Bhunjia and Kawari dialects considered more divergent dialects. Reportedly a creole language. Grierson and Konow (1901–1929) called it a dialect of Marathi [mar] for convenience, but noted similarities to Bhatri [bgw], a dialect of Oriya [ory].
SOV; postpositions; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; 2 or 3 affixes per word; word order distinguishes given and new information; noun affixes indicate case; verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject; passives; causatives; comparatives; CV, CVC, CVV; nontonal.
Devanagari script [Deva].
A Scheduled Tribe. Traditional religion, Hindu.