Languages of Odisha (Orissa):

Odia, one of the oldest languages in the country, is the predominant language spoken in Odisha and its outlying tracts. Odia is the official language of the state and 84 per cent of the people speak in Odia. A direct descendant of eastern Magadhi, Odia belongs to Aryan family of languages. This Indo-Aryan language closely related to Bengali, Assamese, and other languages of eastern India.

Under the influence of neighboring regional languages of the Aryan and Dravidian families, Odia has developed many linguistic variations, such as Baleswari (Balasore), Bhatri (Koraput), Laria (Sambalpur), Sambalpuri (Sambalpur and other western districts), Ganjami (Ganjam and Koraput), Chhatisgarhi (Chhatisgarh and adjoining areas of Odisha and Medinipuri (Midnapur district of West Bengal).

Besides, hilly regions of north and south Odisha have their own local versions of Odia with many linguistic peculiarities. The first dated, inscription in Odia goes back to 1051 AD discovered at Urajang. But some of the recent discoveries of Sanskrit inscriptions with Odia words reported from certain areas of the ancient Kalinga Empire push back its lineage to the 6th century AD.

The Odia script, descending from Brahmi, has been given Dravidian finish, probably during the reign of the Ganga kings. And the shape was admirably adapted to writing on processed palm leaves with an iron stylus.