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Maithili language

Native to India and Nepal
Region Northern Bihar in India; Province No. 2 in Nepal
Ethnicity Maithil
Native speakers
12 million in India (2001)
3.1 million in Nepal (2011)
  • Central (Sotipura)
  • Western
  • Dehati
  • Jolaha
  • Kisan
  • Thetiya
Tirhuta (Mithilakshar)
Kaithi (Maithili style)
Official status
Official language in
 India 8th schedule of Constitution of India, Bihar
   Nepal Interim Constitution 2007 and Constitution 2016
Language codes
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3
Glottolog mait1250

Maithili (/ˈmtli/;Maithilī) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in northern Bihar of India and Province No. 2 of Nepal. It is written in the Devanagari script and is one of the largest language of India and the second largest Nepalese language. In the past, Maithili was written primarily in Mithilakshar. Less commonly, it was written with a Maithili variant of Kaithi, a script used to transcribe other neighboring languages such as Bhojpuri, Magahi, and Awadhi.

In 2002, Maithili was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which allows it to be used in education, government, and other official contexts. It is recognized as one of the largest languages in India and is the second most widely used language in Nepal.

In 2007, Maithili was included in the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2063, Part 1, Section 5 as a Nepalese language.

Native speakers are referred to as Maithils.

In India, Maithili is spoken mainly in northern Bihar in the districts of Madhubani, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, Begusarai, Purnia, Katihar, Kishanganj, sheohar, Bhagalpur, Madhepura, Araria, Supaul, Vaishali and Saharsa. Madhubani and Darbhanga constitute cultural and linguistic centers. Native speakers also reside in Delhi, Calcutta, Ranchi and Mumbai.