Oriya is an Indian language that is spoken in the Indian states of Orissa, Gujarat, West Bengal and Jharkhand. It is also spoken in other countries outside India, such as Java, Bangladesh, Bali, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Fiji and Sumatra. The sadhaba, the ancient Oriya traders, also carried the language with them to other western countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada and England. Oriya is one of the official languages of India. It is officially spelt as Odia. Approximately 31 million people speak this language in India, while 45 million people speak the language around the world. Most Oriya speakers can be predominantly found in the Odish district in India. Census results shows that 83.33% of speakers can be found in that area. The Oriya language falls under the Indo-Aryan group of languages. It is closely related to the Assamese and Bengali languages.
The main writing systems used are the Oriya alphabet and the Oriya braille. The Oriya script evolved from the Kalinga script, which descended from the Bahmi script of India. The Oriya script has a carved appearance. This can be attributed to the fact that the script used to be written using palm leaves, which would tear if someone wrote in straight lines. Some of the notable features about the writing system includes the fact that diacritics are used either above, below or beside letters. Oriya is written from left to write in horizontal lines. Other languages that use the Oriya script includes Sanskrit and Orissa. The first Oriya inscription was found in 1051 AD in Urajang.
The Oriya language has various dialects. This includes the Midnapori Oriya dialect that is spoken in Midnapore district, Singhbhumi Oriya dialect that is spoken in Jharkhand and the Baleswari Oriya dialect that is spoken in Odish district. Other dialects include the Halbi dialect that is spoken in Bastar district, Bhatri, Desiya Oriya, Sambalpuri Oriya and Ganjami Oriya. Mughalbandi Oriya is considered to be the standard dialect. Other districts in India also have Oriya speakers, largely due to migration issues as people move to other districts in search of employment.