Munda languages


Munda languages

Family of about 17 languages spoken in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal that together with Mon-Khmer comprises the Austroasiatic superfamily. Munda languages are spoken by more than seven million people, all members of tribal groups living mainly in hilly and forested regions. Most significant are Santali, with more than four million speakers concentrated in northern Orissa, southern and eastern Bihar, northwestern Bengal, and the Nepal-Assam border; Ho, with about 750,000 speakers mainly in Bihar and Orissa; Mundari, with about 850,000 speakers scattered over northeastern India; and Korku, the westernmost Munda language, spoken by about 320,000 in southern Madhya Pradesh and northern Maharashtra. Munda languages differ from all other Austroasiatic languages in complexity of morphology and in having basic subject-object-verb rather than subject-verb-object word order.

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