Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language of western and central India. It is used by 68 million people in India (Maharashtra and adjacent states). It is spoken in the areas in the north of Bombay down to the western coast past Goa and eastward across the Deccan.
As from 1966 it is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. The standard form of speech is that of the city of Pune (Poona). Marathi is at least one thousand years old, and derives its grammar and syntax from the older Sanskrit. Marathi can also be spelt as Maharashtri, Maharathi, Malhatee or Marthi.
Eastern Hindi is the Indo-Aryan language most closely related to Marathi. Marathi has a long literary tradition. The saint-poet Dnyaneshwar ranks as the most important and earliest literateur known in the Marathi language. Dnyaneshwar wrote Bhaavarth-Dipika which is also known as Dnyaneshwari. Other prominent saint-poets include Eknath, Tukaram, and Namdev, who enriched Marathi from the grass-roots level. Marathi probably has the richest saint-literature of all Indian languages.
Marathi is also spoken in Israel and Mauritius. Marathi is thought to be a descendent of Maharashtri, one of the Prakrit languages which developed from Sanskrit. Marathi first appeared in writing during the 11th century in the form of inscriptions on stones and copper plates. From the 13th century until the mid 20th century, it was written with the Modi alphabet. Since 1950 it has been written with the Devanagari alphabet.
Total number of people who speak Marathi are 6,80,22,000 including all countries. Three Letter Code for Marathi is MRT. Alternative names are MAHARASHTRA, MAHARATHI, MALHATEE, MARTHI, MURUTHU. There are 42 dialects. The dialect situation throughout the greater Marathi speaking area is complex. Dialects bordering other major language areas share many features with those languages. Closely related languages are Konkani, Goanese, Deccan, Varhadi-Nagpuri, Ikrani, and Gowlan. There is a dialect in Thanjavur District and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, which has been influenced by Tamil and Kannada words, with at least 100,000 speakers. State language of Maharashtra. Spoken by the Mangelas as mother tongue. The Bene Israel are a Marathi-speaking Jewish group of Bombay. The Habshi are descended from East African slaves brought to western India, and are Muslim.