About Rajasthani language

Lakhan Gusain lgusain at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 25 01:04:56 UTC 2003

Dear Linguists,

I keep receiving mails regarding Rajasthani language and its dialects. I try
my best to reply instantly. There are very curious mails like, what is
Rajasthani language and how many dialects are there? Some mails are very
nice: how to learn Rajasthani?

The answer for the first question is: Rajasthani is a member of Indo-Aryan
language family spoken by some eighty million speakers. It has EIGHT
dialects: Bagri, Shekhawati, Mewati, Dhundhari, Harauti, Marwari, Mewari,and
Wagri. The standardization of Rajasthani was carried out in March 1965 at
Jaipur(cf. Prof. Kali Charan Bahl).

Those who are serious scholars know it that Rajasthani has a history of more
than one thousand years, but there are some persons who know nothing about
Rajasthani language nonetheless start commenting on it. I should suggest
them; they should go through LSI Vol 8, P.II a monumental work by Sir George
A. Grierson. Among the modern Rajasthani linguists, I would like to
recommend Professor Kali Charan Bahl’s (1971) and David Magier’s (1983)

The answer to the second question: As you know there is no good pedagogical
grammar in Rajasthani one can really rely upon. In the name of Rajasthani (a
secular code), people start learning or teaching Marwari (one of the Eight
dialects of Rajasthani, dominated by Charan, Rajput and Banias) that is not
justifiable and any rational person would certainly will NOT like it. In the
name of Rajasthani language and literature, people start learning or
teaching genealogy of Banias, Charans and Rajputs!! There are also 90
percents persons in Rajasthan other than these communities most of them
speak Rajasthani.

Keeping these aspects in mind, I started working in early nineties on
Rajasthani and its dialects at the Centre of Linguistics and English,
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. I worked (in the field for more than
a decade, not in office) on Rajasthani grammar and was granted M.Phil. and
Ph.D. under the supervision of noted linguist Professor Anvita Abbi.

Resultantly, got published eight books ($40 each)on the different dialects
of Rajasthani from Lincom (www.lincom-europa.com), Munich, Germany. One of
my books "A Reference Grammar of Rajasthani" (some 870 pages) is going to
the press byJanuary, 2004. Right now, I am busy in preparing "A Pedagogical
Grammar of Rajasthani Language". It will go to the publisher during the
second week of December, 2003.

If you have further questions regarding Rajasthani, please contact me and I
will respond you as always.


Lakhan Gusain
Department of Asian Languages & Cultures
3511, Frieze Building
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1285
Tel: (734) 936-8809 (Office)
     (734) 996-4065 (Home)
Fax: (734) 647-0157

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