A language of India

Alternate Names
Maharashtra, Maharathi, Malhatee, Marthi, Muruthu

71,700,000 in India (2001 census). L2 users: 3,000,000 in India. Total users in all countries: 74,775,760 (as L1: 71,775,760; as L2: 3,000,000).


Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh states; Maharashtra state: Karnataka, Belgaum and Bidar districts.

Language Maps
Language Status

2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Maharashtra State (1950, Constitution, Schedule VIII).


Gawdi of Goa, Kasargod, Kosti, Kudali, Nagpuri Marathi. 42 dialects. Complex dialect situation. Dialects bordering other major language areas share many features with those languages. Dialects or closely related languages: Konkani [knn], Goan Konkani [gom], Deccan [dcc], Varhadi-Nagpuri [vah], and Gowlan [goj]. There is a dialect in Thanjavur District and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu influenced lexically by Tamil [tam] and Kannada [kan], with at least 100,000 speakers.


SOV; postpositions; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine/neuter); no articles; case-marking (7 cases); verb affixes mark person, number; passives; tense and aspect; 37 consonants, 8 vowels, 2 diphthongs; non-tonal.

Language Use

The Bene Israel are a Marathi-speaking Jewish group in Mumbai. Used as L2 by Ahirani [ahr], Bhalay [bhx], Far Western Muria [fmu], Gowli [gok], Indo-Portuguese [idb], Katkari [kfu], Khandesi [khn], Korku [kfq], Korlai Creole Portuguese [vkp], Lambadi [lmn], Mawchi [mke], Nihali [nll], Noiri [noi], Northern Gondi [gno], Northwestern Kolami [kfb], Palya Bareli [bpx], Pardhan [pch], Pauri Bareli [bfb], Powari [pwr], Rathwi Bareli [bgd], Saraiki [skr], Tulu [tcy], Vaagri Booli [vaa], Varli [vav], Vasavi [vas], Waddar [wbq].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 77% (2001 census). Literacy rate in L2: 77% (2001 census). Fully developed. Bible: 1821–2002.

Braille script [Brai]. Devanagari script [Deva], primary usage.

Other Comments

The Habshi are Muslim, descended from East African slaves brought to western India. Are is a synonym for a Marathi caste name. Are also refers to Marathi-speaking communities in south India. Hindu, Jewish, Muslim.

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