Oriya (ଓଡ଼ିଆ oṛiā), officially spelled Odia, is an Indian language belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is the predominant language of the Indian state of Odisha, where native speakers comprise 80% of the population and it is spoken in parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Oriya is one of the many official languages in India; it is the official language of Odisha and the second official language of Jharkhand. History Oriya is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-Aryan language family. It is thought to be directly descended from a Magadhi Prakrit similar to Ardha Magadhi, which was spoken in eastern India over 1,500 years ago, and is the primary language used in early Jain texts. Oriya appears to have had relatively little influence from Persian and Arabic, compared to other major North Indian languages. Morphology Unlike Hindi, Oriya retains most of the cases of Sanskrit,  though the nominative and vocative have merged (both without a separate marker), as have the accusative and dative. There are three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), and two grammatical numbers (singular and plural). There are three true tenses (the present, past and future), others being formed with auxiliaries. Literature The following era is termed the Panchasakha Age and stretches until the year 1700. The period begins with the writings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whose Vaishnava influence brought in a new evolution in Oriya literature. Notable religious works of the Panchasakha Age include the Balarama Dasa, Jagannatha Dash, Yasovanta, Ananta and Acyutananda. The authors of this period mainly translated, adapted, or imitated Sanskrit literature. Other prominent works of the period include the Usabhilasa of Sisu Sankara Dasa, the Rahasya-manjari of Deva-durlabha Dasa and the Rukmini-bibha of Kartikka Dasa. A new form of novels in verse evolved during the beginning of the 17th century when Ramachandra Pattanayakawrote Haravali. Other poets like Madhusudana, Bhima Bhoi, Dhivara, Sadasiva and Sisu Isvara-dasa composed another form called kavyas (long poems) based on themes from Puranas, with an emphasis on plain, simple language.