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Languages of India

Languages of India
South Asian Language Families.jpg
Official languages Hindi
English (subsidiary official)
21 other 8th Schedule languages
Main foreign languages
  • English - Around 125 million speakers
  • French - approximately 75,000 speakers
Sign languages

Languages spoken in India belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 75% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 20% of Indians. Other languages belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai, and a few other minor language families and isolates.

The Constitution of India give Hindi language the status of national language and Official language. Article 343 of the Indian constitution states that the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.

English has the status of a "subsidiary official language". The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 languages, which have been referred to as scheduled languages and given recognition, status and official encouragement. In addition, the Government of India has awarded the distinction of classical language to Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Odia.

According to Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms "language" and "dialect". The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people. Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English.Persian was the court language during the Mughal period in India. It reigned as an administrative language for several centuries until the era of British colonisation. Up until now, English is an important language in India. It is used in higher education and in some areas of the Indian government. Hindi, the most widely spoken language in India today, serves as the lingua franca across much of North and Central India. However, there have been anti-Hindi agitations in South India, most notably in the state of Tamil Nadu. There is also opposition in non-Hindi belt states towards any perceived imposition of Hindi in these areas.


First, Second, and Third languages by number of speakers in India (2001 Census)
Language First language
speakers

(% of total population)
Second language
speakers
Third language
speakers
Total speakers
(% of total population)
Hindi 422,048,642 (41.03%) 98,207,180 31,160,696 551,416,518 (53.60%)
English 226,449 (0.02%) 86,125,221 38,993,066 125,344,736 (12.18%)
Bengali 83,369,769 (8.10%) 6,637,222 1,108,088 91,115,079 (8.86%)
Telugu 74,002,856 (7.19%) 9,723,626 1,266,019 84,992,501 (8.26%)
Marathi 71,936,894 (6.99%) 9,546,414 2,701,498 84,184,806 (8.18%)
Tamil 60,793,814 (5.91%) 4,992,253 956,335 66,742,402 (6.49%)
Urdu 51,536,111 (5.01%) 6,535,489 1,007,912 59,079,512 (5.74%)
Kannada 37,924,011 (3.69%) 11,455,287 1,396,428 50,775,726 (4.94%)
Gujarati 46,091,617 (4.48%) 3,476,355 703,989 50,271,961 (4.89%)
Odia 33,017,446 (3.21%) 3,272,151 319,525 36,609,122 (3.56%)
Malayalam 33,066,392 (3.21%) 499,188 195,885 33,761,465 (3.28%)
Sanskrit 14,135 (<0.01%) 1,234,931 3,742,223 4,991,289 (0.49%)
Language Family
Assamese (Asamiya) Indo-Aryan
Bengali (Bangla) Indo-Aryan
Bishnupuriya Indo-Aryan
Bodo Sino-Tibetan
Dogri Indo-Aryan
Gujarati Indo-Aryan
Hindi Indo-Aryan
Kannada Dravidian
Kashmiri Indo-Aryan
Konkani Indo-Aryan
Maithili Indo-Aryan
Malayalam Dravidian
Manipuri (includes Meitei) Sino-Tibetan
Marathi Indo-Aryan
Nepali Indo-Aryan
Odia Indo-Aryan
Punjabi Indo-Aryan
Sanskrit Indo-Aryan
Santali Austroasiatic
Sindhi Indo-Aryan
Tamil Dravidian
Telugu Dravidian
Urdu Indo-Aryan
Languages No. of native speakers
Bhojpuri 33,099,497
Rajasthani 18,355,613
Magadh/Magahi 13,978,565
Chhattisgarhi 13,260,186
Haryanvi 7,997,192
Marwari 7,936,183
Malvi 5,565,167
Mewari 5,091,697
Khorth/Khotta 4,725,927
Bundeli 3,072,147
Bagheli 2,865,011
Pahari 2,832,825
Laman/Lambadi 2,707,562
Awadhi 2,529,308
Harauti 2,462,867
Garhwali 2,267,314
Nimadi 2,148,146
Sadan/Sadri 2,044,776
Kumauni 2,003,783
Dhundhari 1,871,130
Tulu 1,722,768
Surgujia 1,458,533
Bagri Rajasthani 1,434,123
Banjari 1,259,821
Nagpuria (Varhadi) 1,242,586
Surajpuri 1,217,019
Kangri 1,122,843

1951 Census
1961 Census
1991 Census
2001 Census
2011 Census
Lists of Official Languages of States and Union Territories of India
  • English - Around 125 million speakers
  • French - approximately 75,000 speakers
  • Institutional – 63
  • Developing – 130
  • Vigorous – 187
  • In trouble – 54
  • Dying – 13
  • the Great Andamanese, comprising a number of extinct languages apart from one highly endangered language with a dwindling number of speakers.
  • the Ongan family of the southern Andaman Islands, comprising two extant languages, Önge and Jarawa, and one extinct tongue, Jangil.
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Wikipedia

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