Languages of Bihar or Bihari Language

Languages of Bihar or Bihari Language are often misunderstood. You go to some other part of India where people always seem confused that the word you just said is from one of the languages of Bihar or it is a Bihari language.

Languages of Bihar, I will explain to you with examples like when you go to a state like Delhi to study or for a job, chances are great that people ask you “Do you Speak Bihari” and you feel awkward and start thinking about what they try to say. Contrary to their thought you know it clearly that there is no language such as “Bihari”.

Another misconception about languages of Bihar is that all biharis speak Bhojpuri but it is not always true and again contrary to people’s perception Hindi is widely spoken in Bihar. Native languages that are spoken in Bihar are Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri, apart from this main language Angika and Brajika is also spoken. Most of the native speakers of languages of Bihar can also speak and understand Hindi.

Native and Commonly used languages of Bihar is

  • Maithili
  • Magahi
  • Bhojpuri
  • Angika
  • Brajika

Despite the advertisement and mass increase of ‘English Coaching Institute’ in every city of Bihar, it is very hard to find English speaking people. Variation may be found in larger cities like Patna and Gaya where some counting number of people can be found who speak English. In general Hindi is a widely used language.

Languages of Bihar

Bihari Languages Chronology

Dr George Abraham Grison, Administrative and linguist in British India, has named the western Magadhi languages as Bihari. In this term he includes three dialects, Magahi, Maithili and Bhojpuri. You noticed the difference between Magadhi and Magahi. Magahi is a variation while Magadhi combines all three languages. Seems a little puzzled, don’t worry we will clear your doubts.

For a number of reasons Hindi always has been and will continue to be a medium of communication in Bihar. It is the literary language of the state and several renowned and gifted Bihari writers created his literature in Hindi. Universities of Bihar have adopted it as the ultimate medium of correspondence and the Government of Bihar has declared it to be the state language.

Although Hindi is highly regarded and respected as a literature language in Bihar, the speakers of Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri are deeply attached to their own dialects and enrouted to the emotional life of the people. Hindi would not entirely replace them. At present, there is no rivalry between Hindi and these three native languages. In fact, they supplement each other.


Maithili is essentially the language of Mithila. Its centre is the northern half of Darbhanga district, but it is also spoken in the parts of Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Saharsa and Purnea. It is spoken at home by more than 30 million people and is the only language of Bihar which has an ancient literary history.

Maithili literature is even older than Hindi. As Early as 1324, Jyotirishwar Thakur wrote a prose(story) work in Maithili. Many monthly magazines publish in this language. The greatest Maithili poet was Vidyapati(15th Century). Though ancient Maithili has a distinct script which was like Bengali but it is now commonly written in Devanagri.

Languages of Bihar


Magahi is spoken in the district of Patna and Gaya as well as parts of Munger and Bhagalpur. It is not credited with much polish. While Maithili prospered under the influence of learned Brahmanas, Magahi continues to be the languages of the common people. It has no indegenous written literature, though a number of folk tales and popular songs have been passed through generations from mouth to mouth. Kaithi is the script generally used for it.


Bhojpuri is spoken in the western districts of Bihar such as Champaran, Saran. It is also spoken in parts of Uttar Pradesh state like Varanasi and Gorakhpur. There are more than 50 million Bhojpuri speaking people in Bihar. Bhojpuri areas have helped significantly in the growth of Hindi literature although Bhojpuri has no such old written literature as Maithili has.

The Bhojpuri people have a distinct and strong tradition and were famous in the past for their bravery. Bhojpuri is written in Kaithi, a script ascribed to the Kayasthas, the Scribes of India, but this script is nowadays being given up by educated people in favour of Devanagari.

The famous poem ‘Batohia’ written by Raghubir Narayan and the play called ‘Bideshia’ by Bhikhari Thakur have made history by its popularity. Bhikhari Thakur is the people’s poet in Bhojpuri and in his poem reflected the joys and sorrows and tears of the simple rural folk of this area.

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