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Maithili is of the family of Indo-Aryan languages, which are part of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is spoken in the Indian state of Bihar and in the eastern Terai region of Nepal. It is considered by many to be a dialect of Hindi, and thus not a separate language. Nevertheless, a movement to give the language official status in the Indian Constitution so that it could be used in education, government, and other official contexts, resulted in Maithili being given official status in 2003.
The term Maithili comes from Mithila, which was an independent state in ancient times. There is still controversy over whether Maithili is a separate language, despite there being a large Maithili-speaking community with a rich literature.
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