خھڑی بولی
Pronunciation kʰəɽiː boːliː
Spoken in India
Region Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh
Native speakers 240 million  (1991–1997)
Language family
Writing system Devanagari script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 either:
hin – Hindi
urd – Urdu
Linguasphere 59-AAF-qd
Indic script
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

Khariboli (Urdu: خھڑی بولی, Devanagari: खड़ी बोली khaṛī bolī; lit. 'standing dialect'), also Khari Boli, Khadiboli, Khadi Boli or simply Khari, is a Western Hindi dialect spoken mainly in the rural surroundings of Delhi, the northern areas of Western Uttar Pradesh and the southern areas of Uttarakhand in India.[1][2] Khariboli is widely accepted to be the main dialectical precursor of the Hindi-Urdu prestige dialect, of which Standard Hindi and Urdu are official standard registers and literary styles. Standard Hindi and Urdu are the principal official languages of India and Pakistan respectively.[1][3]

Khariboli is believed to have initially developed contemporaneously with the neighboring Awadhi and Braj dialects in the 900-1200 CE period. Khari contains some features, such as gemination, which give it a distinctive sound and differentiates it from standard Hindi-Urdu, Braj and Awadhi.[4] In academic literature, the term Kauravi (कौरवी) is sometimes applied to the specific Khari dialect spoken in the western parts of the Khari-speaking zone. Although Khariboli and Standard Hindi-Urdu differ dialectically, Standard Hindi-Urdu is sometimes also referred to as Khariboli and regarded as the literary form of that dialect.[5]


Geographical Distribution

Khariboli is spoken in the rural surroundings of Delhi and northwestern Uttar Pradesh, as well as in some neighboring areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand.[2] The geography of this part of North India is traditionally described doabs.

In Uttar Pradesh, the following districts of the Yamuna-Ganges doab are Khari-speaking:

In Uttarakhand, the following districts of the Yamuna-Ganges doab are partially Khari-speaking:

In the trans-Ganges area, it is spoken in the following districts of Rohilkhand region in Uttar Pradesh:

In Haryana, the following district is partially Khari-speaking:

Some characteristics of Khariboli

Khari's consonant gemination, vowel length, limited loss of aspiration and differing verb-forms mark it as distinct from Modern Standard Hindi-Urdu.[4] There are also some vocabulary differences with the prestige Hindi-Urdu dialect.

Khari Modern Standard Hindi-Urdu (MS-HU) Comments
Jutta urli taraf dhar diye. Joota iss taraf rakh dijiye. English: 'Please put the shoe on this side'; gemination of 't' in 'jutta'; Use of 'urli' in common with Haryanvi - the word is absent from MS-HU
Yo deekh na ria. Yeh dikh nahin raha. English: 'This is not visible'; Vowel lengthening; Variant word-forms
Main na detta. Main nahin doonga. English: 'I won't give it'; Varying verb-form; 'deta' exists in MS-HU but is semantically incorrect (due to tense) to use here; Also, gemination from the 'deta' form in MS-HU
Chiryon ku diqq mati karey. Chiryon ko pareshaan mat kar. English: 'Don't bother the birds'; Usage of Khari-specific abbreviation 'diqq', which is a shortening of 'diqqat'; Both MS-HU and Khari are using Persian-derived terms, but different ones; Khari-usage of 'mati' - a variant form of 'mat' which is the MS-HU norm
Kitaab chhaen me dhar dijiyo, asmaan se mi girey hai. Kitaab chhaon mein rakh dena, aasmaan se baarish gir rahi hai. English: 'Put the book in the shade, rain is falling from the sky.'; Preferential usage of 'dhar' over 'rakh'; differing word-forms; asmaan < aasmaan/sky, vowel shortening; Saharanpuri dialect usage of 'mi' in common with northern Haryanvi and Punjabi, which is absent in MS-HU

Several words have differing forms in Standard Hindi-Urdu and Khari, for instance asmaan (shortened vowel, aasmaan/sky in standard-dialect Hindi-Urdu), haat (loss of aspiration, haath/hand in standard Hindi-Urdu) and chaddar (gemination and shortened vowel, chaadar/sheet in standard Hindi-Urdu).[4]

Khariboli in Hindi-Urdu popular culture

Khariboli is often seen as rustic by speakers of Standard Hindi-Urdu, and elements of it were used in Hum Log, India's first television soap opera, where the main family was depicted as having roots in Western Uttar Pradesh.[6][7]

As the two main Hindi-Urdu dialects of Western Uttar Pradesh and the areas surrounding Delhi, Khariboli and Braj Bhasha are often compared. One hypothesis of how Khariboli came to be described as khari (standing) asserts that it refers to the "stiff and rustic uncouthness" of the dialect compared to the "mellifluousness and soft fluency" of Braj Bhasha.[8] On the other hand, Khariboli supporters sometimes pejoratively referred to Braj Bhasha and other dialects as "Pariboli" (पड़ी बोली, پڑی بولی, fallen/supine dialects).[8]

Kauravi and Sankrityayan's proposal

Although most linguists acknowledge that Modern Standard Hindi-Urdu descended from Khariboli, the precise mechanism of dialectical changes from Khari to the prestige dialect (such as the loss of gemination which is so prevalent in Khari) lacks consensus. There are also variations within Khari itself across the area in which it is spoken. In the mid-twentieth century, Indian scholar and nationalist, Rahul Sankrityayan, proposed a redrawing of the liguistic map of the Hindi-Urdu zone.[9] Drawing a distinction between the Khari of Delhi and the Khari of the extreme western parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, he advocated that the former retain the name Khariboli while the latter be renamed to Kauravi, after the Kuru Kingdom of ancient India.[9] Although the term Khariboli continues to be applied as it traditionally was, some linguists have accepted the term Kauravi as well, applying to the language spoken in the linguistic arc running from Saharanpur to Agra (i.e. the close east and north east of Delhi).[3] Sankrityayan postulated that this Kaurvi dialect was the parent of Delhi's specific Khari dialect.[9] Sankrityayan had also advocated that all Hindi-Urdu be standardized on the Devanagari script and Perso-Arabic entirely be abandoned.[9]

Other dialects of Hindi-Urdu

Khariboli is related to four standardized registers of Hindi-Urdu: Standard Hindi, Urdu, Dakhini and Rekhta. Standard Hindi (also High Hindi, Nagari Hindi) is used as the lingua franca of Northern India (the Hindi belt), Urdu is the lingua franca of Pakistan, Dakhini is the historical literary dialect of the Deccan region, and Rekhta the court register of Urdu used in medieval poetry. These standard registers together with Sansiboli form the Hindustani dialect group. This group together with Haryanvi, Kauravi, Braj Bhasha, Kanauji and Bundeli forms the Western Hindi dialect group.

Early influences

The area around Delhi has long been the center of power in northern India, and naturally, the Khari-boli dialect came to be regarded as urbane and of a higher standard than the other dialects of Hindi. This view gradually gained ground over the 19th century; before that period, other dialects such as Avadhi, Brij Bhasha and Sadhukaddi were the dialects preferred by littérateurs.

Rise as a literary and official language

The earliest examples of Khariboli can be seen in some of Kabir and Amir Khusro's lines.

In 1800, the British East India Company established a college of higher education at Calcutta named the Fort William College. John Borthwick Gilchrist, a president of that college, encouraged his professors to write in their native tongue; some of the works thus produced were in the literary form of the Khariboli dialect. These books included Premsagar (Prem Sagur) by Lallu Lal,[10] Naasiketopaakhyan by Sadal Mishra; Sukhsagar by Sadasukhlal of Delhi and Rani Ketaki ki kahani by Munshi Inshallah Khan. More developed forms of Khariboli can also be seen in some mediocre literature produced in early 18th century. Examples are Chand Chhand Varnan Ki Mahima by Gangabhatt, Yogavashishtha by Ramprasad Niranjani, Gora-Badal ki katha by Jatmal, Mandovar ka varnan by Anonymous, a translation of Ravishenacharya's Jain Padmapuran by Daulatram (dated 1824).

Earlier, the Khari-boli was regarded as a mixed brogue unworthy of being used in literature[citation needed]. However, under government patronage, it flourished, even as older and previously more literary tongues such as Brij Bhasha, Maithili and Avadhi declined to virtual non-existence as literary vehicles[citation needed]. Notable writers such as Munshi Premchand had started using literary form of Khariboli as the preferred language by the early 20th century[citation needed].

After India became independent in 1947, the Khariboli-based dialect was officially recognized as the approved version of the Hindi language, which was declared as one of the official languages of the central government functioning[citation needed]. Under the Indian government's encouragement, the officially sponsored version of the Khari-boli dialect has undergone a sea-change after it was declared the language of central government functioning in 1950[citation needed]. A major change has been the Sanskritisation of Hindi (introduction of Sanskrit vocabulary in Khariboli)[citation needed].

See also


  1. ^ a b Yamuna Kachru, Hindi, Volume 12 of London Oriental and African language library, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006, ISBN 9789027238122,, "... Khari Boli, the dialect spoken around Meerut and Delhi, which forms the base of modern standard Hindi ..." 
  2. ^ a b Syed Abdul Latif, An Outline of the cultural history of India, Oriental Books, 1979,, "... Khari Boli is spoken as mother-tongue in the following areas: — (1) East of the Ganges, in the districts of Rampur, Bijnor and Moradabad. (2) Between the Ganges and the Jamuna, in the districts of Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Saharanpur and in the plain district of Dehradun (3) West of the Jamuna, in the urban areas of Delhi and Karnal and the eastern part of Ambala district ..." 
  3. ^ a b Source: The Indo-Aryan languages, Colin P. Masica
  4. ^ a b c Encyclopaedic dictionary of Urdu literature, Global Vision Publishing Ho, 2007, ISBN 9788182201910,, "... No doubt Khari Boli is the basis of both Urdu and Hindi ... The overgemination of consonants in Khari is also not acceptable to the standard Urdu and Hindi ... Another special feature of Khari is shortening of vowels ... Loss of aspirates and aspiration ..." 
  5. ^ Shabdkosh (Dictionary), Pustak, 2010,, retrieved 2010-01-08, "... खड़ी बोली: स्त्री० [हिं० खड़ी+बोली] १. मेरठ, बिजनौर, मुजफ्फर नगर, सहारनपुर, अम्बाला, पटियाला के पूर्वी भागों तथा रामपुर, मुरादाबाद आदि प्रदेशों के आसपास की बोली। २. उक्त बोली का परिष्कृत, सांस्कृतिक तथा साहित्यिक रूप जिसे आजकल हिन्दी कहा जाता है। ..." 
  6. ^ Arvind Singhal, Everett M. Rogers, Entertainment-education: a communication strategy for social change, Psychology Press, 1999, ISBN 9780805833508,, "... Joshi creatively combined Khadi Boli, a much used, rustic, yet popular derivative of the Hindi language in North India, with conventional Hindi ..." 
  7. ^ Shibani Roy, S. H. M. Rizvi, Dhodia identity: anthropological approach, B.R. Pub. Corp., 1985,, "... The written script and spoken language of the urban folk differ from the rural dialect or khadi boli. This is unrefined and crude tongue of the rustic folks of the village ..." 
  8. ^ a b Alok Rai, Hindi nationalism, Orient Blackswan, 2001, ISBN 9788125019794,, "... on one account, Khari Boli was contrasted with the mellifluousness and soft fluency of Braj Bhasha: khari was understood to refer to the rustic and stiff uncouthness of Khari Boli. The protagonists of Khari Boli returned the compliment: Braj Bhasha was called pari boli — ie supine! ..." 
  9. ^ a b c d Prabhakar Machwe, Rahul Sankrityayan (Hindi Writer)Makera of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, 1998, ISBN 9788172018450,, "... re0drawing of the map of Hindi-speaking areas, on the basis of the so-called dialects ... He believed that the language spoken in Meerut and Agra was the original mother of Khari boli; he called it Kauravi ... his presidential speech in the Bombay session of the Hindi Sahitya sammelan in 1948, with the strong plea to use Devanagari script for Urdu, provoked bitter controversy and many Urdu speaking Communists saw to it that Rahul was expelled from the Communist Party of India ..." 
  10. ^ Prem Sagur, English translation online

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