|Region||Central India (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra)|
|727,133, 73% of ethnic population (2011 census)|
|Balbodh style of the Devanagari script|
Korku is an Austroasiatic language spoken by the Korku tribe of central India, in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. It is isolated in the midst of the Gondi people, who are Dravidian, while its closest relatives are in eastern India.
Korkus are also closely associated with the Nihali people, many of whom have traditionally lived in special quarters of Korku villages. Korku is spoken by around 200,000 people, mainly in four districts of southern Madhya Pradesh (Khandwa, Harda, Betul, Hoshangabad) and three districts of northern Maharashtra (Rajura and Korpana tahsils of Chandrapur district, Manikgarh pahad area near Gadchandur in Chandrapur district) (Amravati, Buldana, Akola). Korku is spoken in a declining number of villages and is gradually being replaced by Hindi. For these reasons, Korku is classified as 'vulnerable to extinction' by UNESCO.
The name Korku comes from Koro-ku (-ku is the animate plural), Koro 'person, member of the Korku community' (Zide 2008).
Zide (2008:256) lists the following dialects.
Korku is spoken in the following regions (Zide 2008:256):
Korku has 6 vowels; a, e, i, o, u, ɨ, and 2 nasalized vowels; ɪ̃, ʊ̃.
Korku has 22 consonants.
Nouns may have either one of the three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. Adjectives are placed before the nouns they qualify.
The use of the Korku language has been heavily influenced by larger hegemonic languages, especially Hindi. That influence affects not just language but also the customs and culture of traditional Korku people. A few groups have been more successful in preserving their language, specifically the Potharia Korku (from the Vindhya Mountains).
The national census of 2001 reported 574,481 people claiming to speak Korku, an un-scheduled language.