USAGE BY COUNTRY (OFFICIAL LANGUAGE)Official Language: Orissa/India Home Speakers: Bihar/India, Assam/India, West Bengal/India, Andra Pradesh/India, Bangladesh
BACKGROUNDOriya is spoken in eastern India, principally in the state of Orissa, which faces the Bay of Bengal. It is closely related to Bengali, spoken to the north. It belongs to the Indic branch of the Indo-European family. The distinctive Oriya script lacks the continuous horizontal top line of other Indian languages, most of its letters containing a large semicircle at the top. To one not familiar with the alphabet many of the letters appear at first glance to look alike. There are about 30 million speakers of Oriya. It is one of the official provincial languages recognized by the Indian constitution.