Rajasthani (Devanagari: राजस्थानी) is a language of the Indo-Aryan languages family. It is spoken by 80 million people in Rajasthan and neighboring states of India and [[Pakistan. It is one of the languages descended from Old Gujarati, AKA Maru-Gujar or Maruwani, the other being modern Gujarati.
Old Gujarati or Maru-Gurjar or Maruwani or Gujjar Bhakha (1100 AD — 1500 AD), ancestor of Gujarati and Rajasthani, was spoken by the Gurjars in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Texts of this era display characteristic Gujarati features such as direct/oblique noun forms, postpositions, and auxiliary verbs. It had 3 genders as Gujarati does today, and by around the time of 1300 CE a fairly standardized form of this language emerged. While generally known as Old Gujarati, some scholars prefer the name of Old Western Rajasthani, based on the argument that Gujarati and Rajasthani were not yet distinct at the time. Also factoring into this preference was the belief that modern Rajasthani sporadically expressed a neuter gender, based on the incorrect conclusion that the [ũ] that came to be pronounced in some areas for masculine [o] after a nasal consonant was analogous to Gujarati's neuter [ũ]. A formal grammar of the precursor to this language was written by Jain monk and eminent scholar Hemachandra Suri in the reign of Solanki king Siddharaj Jayasinh of Anhilwara (Patan).
The Rajasthani language is a Western Indo-Aryan language although some classify it as a part of the Central Indo-Aryan family.
Most of the Rajasthani dialects are chiefly spoken in the state of Rajasthan but are also spoken in Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab.
Rajasthani is also spoken in the Bahawalpur and Multan sectors of the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Tharparkar district of Sindh. It merges with Riasti and Saraiki in Bahawalpur and Multan areas, respectively. It also comes in contact with Sindhi from Dera Rahim Yar Khan through Sukkur and Ummerkot. Many linguists (particularly Gusain, 2000b and Shackle, 1976) agree that it shares many phonological (implosives), morphological (future tense marker and negation) and syntactic features with Riasti and Saraiki. However, further inquiry is needed.
Major varieties of Rajasthani and Marwari are:
- Bagri: About five(5) million speakers in Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar districts of Rajasthan, Sirsa and Hissar districts of Haryana.It is spoken in Fazilka and in some villages of Mukatsar district of Punjab of India as minority language. Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar areas of Punjab of Pakistan.
- Shekhawati: About three(3) million speakers in Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar districts of Rajasthan.
- Ahirwati: spoken in Mahendragarh and Rewari districts of Haryana.
- Marwari: About thirteen(13) million speakers in western Rajasthan comprising Jodhpur, Pali, Sirohi, Jalore, Jaisalmer, Churu, Bikaner, Nagaur, Ajmer, and Barmer districts of Rajasthan. It is also spoken in eastern parts of upper Sindh province of Pakistan.
- Dhundhani: About nine(9) million persons in Jaipur, Dausa, Tonk, Ajmer, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur districts of Rajasthan. It was first surveyed upon by G. Macliester who published specimens of fifteen varieties of Dhundhari spoken in the territory of the former state of Jaipur in 1898.
- Harauti: About four(4) million speakers in Kota, Bundi, Baran, and Jhalawar districts of Rajasthan state of India. Interestingly, it has a nominative marker /nE/ which is absent in other dialects of Rajasthani.
- Mewari: About five(5) million speakers in Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Udaipur, and Chittorgarh districts of Rajasthan state of India.
- Mewati: About five(5) million speakers in Mewat region of Haryana(Gurgaon and Mewat districts) and adjoining Alwar district of Rajasthan.
- Other major dialects/languages are: Dhatki, Goaria, Godwari, Loarki, Merwari, Gade Lohar, Gujari, Gurgula, Lambadi, Malvi, Nimadi
In the past, the language spoken in Rajasthan was regarded as a dialect of western Hindi (Kellogg, 1873). George Abraham Grierson (1908) was the first scholar who gave the designation ‘Rajasthani’ to the language, which was earlier known through its various dialects. Today, however, Sahitya Akademi, National Academy of Letters and University Grants Commission recognize it as a distinct language. It is also taught as such in the Universities of Jodhpur and Udaipur. The Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan included Rajasthani in the course of studies and it has been an optional subject since 1973. Since 1947, several movements have been going on in Rajasthan for its recognition, but it is still considered a ‘dialect’ of Hindi. Recently, the Rajasthan Government has recognized it as a state language, but there is still a long way for the language to go towards national status. It still lacks a comprehensive reference grammar and contemporary dictionary based on a thorough linguistic survey of Rajasthan. Currently an extensive descriptive grammar of Rajasthani is being recorded.
In India, Rajasthani is written in the Devanagari script, an abugida which is written from left to right. Besides, Muriya script was also in use for business purposes only. In Pakistan, where Rajasthani is considered a minor language, a variant of the Sindhi script is used to write Rajasthani dialects.
Rajasthani has 10 vowels and 31 consonants. Three lexical tones: Low, Mid, High (Gusain 2000). Three implosives (b, d, g). Abundance of Front Open Vowel (e.g., javɛ, Khavɛ..)
Rajasthani has two numbers and two genders. Three cases. Postpositions are of two categories—inflexional and derivational. Derivational mostly omitted in actual discourse. (Gusain 2003)
- Rajasthani belongs to the languages that mix three types of case marking systems:nominative – accusative: transitive (A) and intransitive (S) subjects have similar case marking, different from that of transitive object (O); absolutive-ergative (S and O have similar marking, different from A), tripartite (A, S and O have different case marking). There is a general tendency existing in the languages with split nominal systems: the split is usually conditioned by the referents of the core NPs, the probability of ergative marking increasing from left to right in the following nominal hierarchy: 1-st person pronouns – second person pronouns – demonstratives and third person pronouns – proper nouns – common nouns (human – animate – inanimate).(Dixon 1994). Rajasthani split case marking system partially follows this hierarchy:first and second person pronouns have similar A and S marking, the other pronouns and singular nouns are showing attrition of A/S opposition.
- Agreement: 1. Rajasthani combines accusative/tripartite marking in nominal system with consistently ergative verbal concord: the verb agrees with both marked and unmarked O in number and gender (but not in person — contrast Braj). Another peculiar feature of Rajasthani is the split in verbal concord when the participial component of a predicate agrees with O-NP while the auxiliary verb might agree with A-NP. 2. Stative participle from transitive verbs may agree with the Agent. 3. Honorific agreement of feminine noun implies masculine plural form both in its modifiers and in the verb.
- In Hindi and Punjabi only a few combinations of transitive verbs with their direct objects may form past participles modifying the Agent: one can say in Hindi:‘Hindii siikhaa aadmii’ - ‘a man who has learned Hindi’ or ‘saaRii baadhii auraat’ - ‘a woman in sari’, but *‘kitaab paRhaa aadmii ‘a man who has read a book’ is impossible. Semantic features of verbs whose perfective participles may be used as modifiers are described in (Dashchenko 1987). Rajasthani seems to have less constrains on this usage, compare bad in Hindi but normal in Rajasthani.
- Rajasthani has retained an important feature of ergative syntax lost by the other representatives of Modern Western NIA, namely, the free omission of Agent NP from the perfective transitive clause.
- Rajasthani is the only Western NIA language where the reflexes of OIA synthetic passive have penetrated into the perfective domain.
- Rajasthani as well as the other New Indo-Aryan languages shows deviations from Baker’s ‘mirror principle’, that requires the strict pairing of morphological and syntactic operations (Baker 1988). The general rule is that the ‘second causative’ formation implies a mediator in the argument structure. However, some factors block addition of an extra agent into the causative construction.
- In the typical Indo-Aryan relative-correlative construction the modifying clause is usually marked by a member of the “J” set of relative pronouns, adverbs and other words, while the correlative in the main clause is identical with the remote demonstrative (except in Sindhi and in Dakhini). Gujarati and Marathi frequently delete the preposed “J” element. In Rajasthani the relative pronoun or adverb may also be deleted from the subordinate clause but – as distinct from the neighboring NIA – relative pronoun or adverb may be used instead of correlative.
- Relative pronoun ‘jakau’ may be used not only in relative/correlative constructions, but also in complex sentences with “cause/effect” relations.
Linguists and their work and year: [Note: Works concern only with Linguistics Not with Literature]
- Anvita Abbi: Bagri, 1993
- Christopher Shackle: Bagri and Saraiki, 1976
- David Magier: Marwari, 1983
- George Abraham Grierson : Almost all the dialects of Rajasthani, 1920
- George Macalister: Dhundhari and Shekhawati, 1892
- Gopal Parihar: Bagri, 2004–present
- John D. Smith: Rajasthani, 1970–present
- J. C. Sharma: Gade lohar, Bagri or Bhili, Gojri, 1970–present
- Kali Charan Bahl: Rajasthani, 1971–1989
- K. C. Agrawal: Shekhawati, 1964
- L. P. Tessitori: Rajasthani and Marwari, 1914–16
- Lakhan Gusain: all the dialects of Rajasthani, 1990–present
- Liudmila Khokhlova: Rajasthani and Marwari, 1990–present
- Narottam Das Swami: Rajasthani and Marwari, 1960
- Peter E. Hook: Rajasthani and Marwari, 1986
- Ram Karan Asopa: Rajasthani and Marwari, 1890–1920
- Sita Ram Lalas: Rajasthani language, 1950–1970
- Saubhagya Singh Shekhawat Rajasthani, : Rajasthani Shabd-Kosh part I Sanshodhan Parivardhan, 1945–present
- Suniti Kumar Chatterjee: Rajasthani, 1948–49
- W.S. Allen: Harauti and Rajasthani, 1955–60
Works on Rajasthani Grammar
- Agrawal, K.C. 1964. Shekhawati boli ka varnatmak adhyayan. Lucknow: Lucknow University
- Allen, W.S. 1957. Aspiration in the Harauti nominal. Oxford: Studies in Linguistics
- Allen, W.S. 1957. Some phonological characteristics of Rajasthani. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 20:5-11
- Allen, W.S. 1960. Notes on the Rajasthani Verb. Indian Linguistics, 21:1-13
- Asopa, R.K. 1950. Marwari Vyakaran. Jaipur: Popular Prakashan
- Bahl, K.C. 1972. On the present state of Modern Rajasthani Grammar. Jodhpur: Rajasthani Shodh Samsthan, Chaupasani (Rajasthani Prakirnak Prakashan Pushp, 5)
- Bahl, K.C. 1980. aadhunik raajasthaani kaa sanracanaatamak vyaakaran . Jodhpur: Rajasthani Shodh Samsthan
- Chatterji, S.K. 1948. Rajasthani Bhasha. Udaipur: Rajasthan Vidayapith
- Grierson, George A. 1918. Linguistic Survey of India (Volume VIII, Part II). Calcutta: Government of India Press
- Gusain, Lakhan. 1994. Reflexives in Bagri. M.Phil. dissertation. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University
- Gusain, Lakhan. 1999. A Descriptive Grammar of Bagri. Ph.D. dissertation. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2000a. Limitations of Literacy in Bagri. Nicholas Ostler & Blair Rudes (eds.). Endangered Languages and Literacy. Proceedings of the Fourth FEL Conference. University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 21–24 September 2000
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2000b. Bagri. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 384)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2001. Shekhawati. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 385)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2002. Endangered Language: A Case Study of Sansiboli. M.S. Thirumalai(ed.). Language in India, Vol. 2:9
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2003. Mewati. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 386)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2004. Marwari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 427)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2005. Mewari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 431)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2006. Dhundhari. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 433)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2007. Harauti. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 434)
- Gusain, Lakhan. 2008. Wagri. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials, 437)
- Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan. 1986. Grammatical Capture in Rajasthani. Scott DeLancey and Russell Tomlin, (eds.), Proceedings of the Second Annual Meeting of the Pacific Linguistics Conference. Eugene: Deptt. of Linguistics. 203-20
- Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan.1988. The Perfective Adverb in Bhitrauti. Word 39:177-86
- Hook, Peter and Man Singh Mohabbat Singh Chauhan. 1988. On the Functions and Origin of the Extended Verb in Southern Rajasthani. Gave.sa.naa 51:39-57
- Khokhlova, Liudmila Viktorovna. in press. "Infringement of Morphological and Syntactic Operations' Pairing in "Second Causative" Formation (Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani)." Indian Linguistics 64.
- Khokhlova, Liudmila. 2001 Ergativity Attrition in the history of western New Indo-Aryan Languages (Panjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani). In The Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics. Tokyo Symposium on South Asian Languages. Contact, Convergence and Typology. Edpp.158–184, ed. by P. Bhaskararao & K.V. Subbarao. New Delhi-London: Sage Publication
- Lalas, S.R. 1962-78. Rajasthani Sabad Kol. 9 Volumes. Jodhpur: Rajasthani Shodh Samsthan
- Macalister, George. 1898. A Dictionary of the Dialects Spoken in the State of Jeypore. 1st edition. Allahabad: Allahabad Mission Press
- Magier, David S. 1983. Topics in the Grammar of Marwari. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California
- Magier, David S. 1984. Transitivity and valence: Some lexical processes in Marwari. Berkeley Linguistic Society 10
- Magier, David S. 1985. Case and Transitivity in Marwari. Arlene R.K. Zide, David Magier & Eric Schiller (eds.). Proceedings of the Conference on Participant Roles: South Asia and Adjacent Areas. An Ancillary Meeting of the CLS Regional Meeting, April 25, 1984, University of Chicago. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Linguistics Club. 149-59
- Miltner, V. 1964. Old Gujarati, Middle Gujarati, and Middle Rajasthani sentence structure. Bharatiya Vidya 24:9-31
- Sakaria, B. & B. Sakaria. 1977. Rajasthani-Hindi Shabda-Kosh. Jaipur: Panchsheel Prakashan
- Shackle, Christopher (1976). The Saraiki Language of Central Pakistan: A Reference Grammar. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.
- Shackle, Christopher (1977). "Saraiki: A Language Movement in Pakistan". Modern Asian Studies 11 (3): 279–403.
- Smith, J.D. 1975. An Introduction to the Language of the Historical Documents from Rajasthan. Modern Asian Studies 9.4:433-64
- Swami, N.D. 1960. Sankshipta Rajasthani Vyakaran. Bikaner: Rajasthani Research Institute
- Swami, N.D. 1975. Rajasthani Vyakaran. Bikaner: Navyug
- Tessitori, L.P. 1914-16. Notes on the Grammar of Old Western Rajasthani. Indian Antiquary:43-5