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Korku language

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Title: Korku language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Austroasiatic languages, Languages of South Asia, Nihali language, List of languages by number of native speakers in India, Korku people
Collection: Endangered Indian Languages, Munda Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Korku language

Region Central India (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra)
Native speakers
570,000  (2001 census)[1]
Balbodh style of the Devanagari script[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kfq
Glottolog kork1243[3]
Distribution of the Munda languages in India, with Korku the leftmost in central India

The Korku language is the language of the Korku tribe of central India. It belongs to the Kolarian or Munda family, isolated in the midst of a Dravidian (Gondi) population. Some alternate names for Korku are: Bondeya, Bopchi, Korki, Kuri, Kurku, Kurku-Ruma, Ramekhera.[4]

Korkus are also closely associated with the Nihali people, many of whom have traditionally lived in special quarters of Korku villages.[5] Korku is spoken by approximately 574,000 people, mainly in four districts of southern Madhya Pradesh (Khandwa, Harda, Betul, Hoshangabad) and three districts of northern Maharashtra (Rajura and Korpana tahsils of Chandrapur district, Manikgarh pahad area near Gadchandur in Chandrapur district) (Amravati, Buldana, Akola). Korku is spoken in a declining number of villages and is gradually being replaced by Hindi.


  • Etymology 1
  • Varieties 2
  • Distribution 3
  • Grammar 4
  • Writing system 5
  • Endangerment 6
  • Sub-clans 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


The name Korku comes from Koro-ku (-ku is the animate plural), Koro 'person, member of the Korku community' (Zide 2008).[6]


Zide (2008:256) lists the following dialects.


Korku is spoken in the following regions (Zide 2008:256):


Nouns may have either one of the three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. Adjectives are placed before the nouns they qualify.

Writing system

The Korku language uses the Balbodh style of the Devanagari script, which is also used to write the Marathi language.[2]


The use of the Korku language has been heavily influenced by larger hegemonic languages, especially Hindi. This influence affects more than just language, but also the customs and culture of traditional Korku people. A few groups have been more successful in preserving their language, specifically the Potharia Korku (from the Vindhya Mountains).[7]

Korku has been classified as an endangered language of India. A census taken in 2001 reported 574,481 people claiming to speak Korku, an un-scheduled language [8]


Sub-clans of the Korku include the:[9]

  • Bhopas
  • Darsamas
  • Dhikus


  1. ^ Korku at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b  
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Korku". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Korku | Ethnologue.
  5. ^ Ethnologue report on the Nihali language
  6. ^ Cust, R. N. "Grammatical Note and Vocabulary of the Language of the Kor-ku, a Kolarian Tribe in Central India." The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. no. 2 (1884): 164 - 179. (accessed February 14, 2014)
  7. ^ Fuchs, Stephen. "Thirty Korku Dancing Songs." Asian Folklore Studies. no. 1 (2000): 109-140. (accessed February 14, 2014)
  8. ^ 8. Sengupta, Papia. "Endangered Languages: Some Concerns." Economic And Political Weekly. no. 32 (2009): 17-19. (accessed February 14, 2014)
  9. ^ Gordon, D. H. "Korku Memorial Tablets." Man. (1936): 17-19. (accessed February 14, 2014).
  • Zide, Norman. 2008. "Korku". In Anderson, Gregory D.S (ed). The Munda languages, 256-298. Routledge Language Family Series 3.New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-32890-X.

Further reading

  • Nagaraja, K. S. (1999). Korku language: grammar, texts, and vocabulary. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
  • Zide, N. H. (1963). Korku noun morphology. [Chicago: South Asian Languages Program, University of Chicago.
  • Zide, N. H. (1960). Korku verb morphology. [S.l: s.n.

External links

  • Ae... kalaavati... a korku song at

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