Awadhi (Devanagari: अवधी) is an Indo-Aryan language. It is spoken chiefly in the Awadh (Oudh) region of Uttar Pradesh, although its speakers are also found in Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Nepal. Awadhi in slightly different forms (influenced by Brij Bhasha or Bundeli) is also spoken in the vatsa country (lower Doab) south of Awadh region which includes Kanpur and Allahabad.
Although today it is only considered a dialect of Hindi, before the standardization of Hindi, it was the second most important literary dialect of Hindustani (the first was Brij Bhasha). Important works in Awadhi are the Candayan of Maulana Da’ud, the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, the Padmavat of Malik Mohammad Jaisi.
Awadhi is mainly spoken in the major part of Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh, the adjoining Terai area of Nepal and the lower stretch of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab.
In Awadh, it is spoken in the following districts almost entirely:
- Rae bareli
while it is spoken in these districts partially:
- Lakhimpur Kheri (excluding western areas)
- Sitapur (excluding western areas)
- Ambedkar Nagar (excluding eastern areas)
In the Doab, Awadhi is spoken with influences from Kannauji and Bundeli (Kanpur Urban excluding the westernmost areas of the district which speak entirely in Kannauji), Bundeli (Fatehpur and Kaushambi districts, and Allahabad city, which lies West of the Sangam). Part of Allahabad district south of ganga speaks with the mixture of bagheli
In Nepal, it is spoken in the following regions:
- Lumbini zone
- Rapti zone
- Bheri zone
- Banke district
- Bardiya district
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 [holi khere raghuvira awadh me from baghban and ek rahe eer ek rahe beer from bhootnath]