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Introduction: The Kharia Language

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Chapter Summary

Kharia is a South Munda language spoken primarily in eastern central India in the southwestern areas of the state of Jharkhand and adjoining areas of the states of Chattisgarh and Orissa. It is also spoken by large numbers of speakers in regions further to the east and south, as well as by smaller numbers further afield. The Munda languages together form the western branch of the Austro- Asiatic phylum, which extends from Central India to Vietnam. The phylum, whose genetic relationship was demonstrated beyond any doubt in Pinnows (1959) excellent overview of the family, can be divided into two major groups, Munda and Mon-Khmer. The Kharia are one of the best studied Munda groups and studies on their language and culture date back to the 19th century. There are a number of terminological issues which arise in a description of Kharia which do not arise for many other languages.

Keywords: Jharkhand; Kharia; Munda language; Orissa; Vietnam



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