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This study has a number of goals: (1) to determine lexical similarity between the “Dewali” Bhil, the “Mathwadi” Bhil, and the Pauras, and then between these and Marathi and Hindi; (2) to investigate intelligibility both between the dialects within and adjacent to the northern part of Dhule District; (3) to investigate bilingualism among the Bhil communities of northern Dhule; and (4) to investigate the different languages used by Bhillis in daily living and to investigate the attitudes and preferences that they exhibit toward different languages in these situations.
The Bhilli languages of Northern Dhule were found to be in three distinct divisions. Vasave, Bhilori, and Pauri are mutually unintelligible with one another, and in need of their own specific development. Bhilli languages are demonstrated to be used in most domains of life by all generations of the Bhil community with no indication that they will cease to be used in the foreseeable future. Further, the overwhelming majority of the Bhil population is not sufficiently bilingual to read and use another language.