|Native to||India, Nepal, Fiji (as Fiji Hindi)|
|Region||India: Awadh and Lower Doab regions of Uttar Pradesh, as well as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi Nepal: Lumbini Zone, Kapilbastu District; Bheri Zone, Banke District, Bardiya District and most part of the Uttar Pradesh|
|Native speakers||38 million (2001)|
|Writing system||Devanagari, Kaithi|
|Official language in||No official status|
Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी) is an Eastern Hindi language, a dialect of the Hindi dialect continuum. It is spoken chiefly in the Awadh (Oudh) region of Uttar Pradesh & Nepal although its speakers are also found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar & Delhi. A mixture of Awadhi, Brij Bhasha and Bundeli is also spoken in the Vatsa country (Lower Doab) south of Awadh region which includes Kanpur and Allahabad. It is also spoken in most of the Caribbean countries where the people of Uttar Pradesh were taken as indentured workers by the British India government. According to 2001 census, it ranks 29th in the List of languages by number of native speakers in World.
Awadhi is also known by alternate names of Abadhi, Abadi, Abohi, Ambodhi, Avadhi, Baiswari, Kojali and Kosali.
Name of the language 
Awadhi is the main dialect of the Eastern Hindi branch of the Indo-Aryan group of languages spoken in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora spread all over world. The term Awadhi appears to denote the language of Awadh (Oudh) but as matter of fact it is not confined to Awadh (Oudh) but also spoken outside Awadh e.g. Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad and some parts of Nepal
Geographical distribution 
Awadhi is mainly spoken in the major part of Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh or Central Uttar Pradesh, the adjoining Madhesh area of Nepal, Caribbean countries and the lower stretch of the Ganges–Yamuna Doab. Awadhi is a language spoken by nearly 40 million people. The language is ranked 40th out of most-spoken languages in the world and is mainly heard throughout India, Nepal and Mauritius. Most speakers of the language speak it as a first, not second language. Awadhi belongs to the Indo-European language family which also include languages such as; Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, East Central zone and Central zone. The writing system used for Awadhi is usually Devanagari or Kaithi, although some people use a mixture of both.
In Awadh, it is spoken in the following districts almost entirely:
Excluding Awadh, the Language is also spoken widely in Lower Doab:-
While it is spoken in these districts partially:
- Lakhimpur Kheri (excluding western areas)
- Sitapur (excluding western areas)
- Ambedkar Nagar (excluding eastern areas)
- Sant Ravidas Nagar
- Basti (excluding eastern areas)
- Siddharthnagar district
In the Lower Doab, Awadhi is spoken with influences from Kannauji, Bundeli and Bagheli. Kanpur Urban excluding the westernmost areas of the district which speak entirely in Kannauji, Bundeli in southern parts of Fatehpur and Kaushambi districts, while Part of Allahabad district south of Yamuna speaks with the mixture of Bagheli and Bundeli
In Nepal, it is spoken in the following regions:
- Lumbini zone
- Rapti zone
- Bheri zone
In literary traditions 
At present there is little literary endeavour in Awadhi, since most speakers have adopted western Hindi. Although today it is only considered a dialect of Hindi, before the standardization of Hindi, it was one of the two most important literary dialect of Hindustani (the other being Brij Bhasha). Awadhi has been one of the earliest Indo Aryan languages to be cultivated for literature. The oldest specimen of Awadhi is found in Ukti-vyakti-prakarana of Damodara Pandita who flourished during the first half of the 12th century. He wrote this book to teach Sanskrit through his mother tongue which was a kind of old Awadhi. The Sufi tradition which became established in India in the 14th century found a series of writers mostly Muslim who took a number of poems of medieval Hindu inspiration and wove them into poems in Awadhi, Maulana Daud was probably the first of them. The manuscripts of these poems in Awadhi are mostly Persian in character due to the Muslim influence existing at that point of time.
The Awadhi dialect of Hindi was enriched by a number of Sufi writers who wove some romantic tales of the folklore type into beautiful allegorical plays by way of elucidating the characteristics of Sufi doctrines. Maulana Daud is the author of the oldest work of this type Chandayan. But the greatest writer of this school was Malik M Jayasi whose poem Padumavati composed between 1520 to 1540 is a detailed Sufi allegorical treatment of the famous story of Padmini of Chitor.
The greatest Hindi writer during this period was Gosvami Tulsidas, born in U.P. sometime in 1523. He wrote his masterpieceRamcharitmanas sometime in 1574 in his native language Awadhi. It narrates the story of Rama and through it propounds the story of the Bhakti Cult. Tulsidas wrote many other devotional works of which Vinaya-Patrika (letters of Prayer) is most well known.
Important works in Awadhi are the Candayan of Maulana Da’ud, the Padmavat of Malik Mohammad Jaisi (1540 A.D.), the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas (1575 A.D.), Indravati by Nur Muhammad (1757 A.D.). Most of the Hindu literature, including Chalisas such as Hanuman Chalisha, are written in Avadhi. Most of the North-Indian Hindu literature, including Chalisas such as Hanuman Chalisha, are written in Awadhi.
In popular culture 
Before 1990, most of the Indian movies were influenced by Awadhi language. Awadhi had also been used in various Hindi movies like Lagaan, Peepli Live etc., and Amitabh Bachhan used Awadhi in his many movies and songs like Holi Khere Raghuvira Awadh Me from Baghban and Ek Rahe Eer Ek Rahe Beer from Bhootnath.
See also 
- Languages of India
- Languages with official status in India
- List of Indian languages by total speakers
Awadhi can roughly claim to be the language of the tract lying between Bareilly to Allahabad, north of the Yamuna river and south of Mahabharat range in Nepal, cornered by Etawah in south-east and Khalilabad of Basti Janpad in northeast. This makes Awadhi as the singly the most widely spoken dialect of Hindi.
- Awadhi at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- Detailed language map of western Nepal, see disjunct enclaves of language #2 in southwest
- Evolution of Awadhi (a branch of Hindi) By Baburam Saksena
- [www.esamskriti.com/essays/docfile/14_395.doc History of Hindi language], Compiled by Sanjeev Nayyar, March 2002
|Awadhi language test of Wikipedia at Wikimedia Incubator|
- Entry for Awadhi at Ethnologue
- Entry for Awadhi at Rosetta Project
- Entry for Awadhi at SIL International
- Tulsi Ramayana
- World Bible Translation Center: New Testament in Awadhi
- Entry for Awadhi at Joshua Project
- Awadhi Bible Downloads @ World Bible Translation Center
- Awadhi language audio Bible stories and lessons @ Global Recordings Network