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Languages in India

India is very rich in languages. There are uncountable number of languages and dialects being spoken in India. A minimum of 30 different languages have been identified along with 2000 dialects. Today, due to rapid industrialization and a bustling influence of multinationals in the economy, English has become the most common language, after Hindi, being spoken in the country. Hindi is spoken by 337 million people in India. The second most spoken Indian language is Bengali, being spoken by 70 million people.

This section of 'Languages of India' will help in navigating the details of commonly spoken languages in India.

Official Languages of India
There are two languages used by the central administration of India. They are namely:
  • Hindi
  • English
Recognized National Languages of India
There are a total of 22 languages scheduled for official use. They are as follows:

Languages Number of Speakers
(in million)
States where it is Official Language
Assamese 13 Assam
Bengali 70 Tripura and West Bengal
Bodo Assam
Dogri Jammu and Kashmir
Gujarati 41 Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Gujarat
Hindi 337 Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.
Kannada 33 Karnataka
Kashmiri 0.5 Jammu and Kashmir
Konkani 1.7 Goa
Maithili 8 Bihar
Malayalam 30 Kerala and Lakshadweep
Manipuri or Meithei 1.2 Manipur
Marathi 63 Maharashtra
Nepali 1 Sikkim
Oriya 28 Orissa
Punjabi 23 Punjab, second official language of Delhi
Sanskrit 0.1
Sindhi 2.1
Tamil 53 Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry
Telugu 66 Andhra Pradesh
Urdu 43 Jammu and Kashmir
Note:- Hindustani is a popular language spoken widely throughout northern India. It is not treated as an official language as it is a variant of Hindi and Urdu.
Other Popular Languages Spoken in India
  • Angika
  • Awadhi
  • Bhojpuri
  • Bundeli
  • Chhattisgarhi
  • Hariyanavi
  • Hindustani
  • Kanauji
  • Magadhi
  • Marwari
  • Bhili
  • Gondi
  • Kodava
  • Kutchi
  • Tulu
  • Mahl
Popular Dialects in India
  • Nagpuri - Dialect of Hindi, popular in Jharkhand and its nearby areas.
  • Bhaya - Popular in Bihar.
  • Bagheli - Dialect of Baghelkhand region of central India.
  • Derawali - Dialect of Saraiki language, spoken in western Punjab.
  • Maajhi - Dialect of Punjabi language.
  • Dakkhini or Deccani - Dialect of Urdu, popular in the Deccan region of South India.
  • Hyderabadi Urdu - Dialect as a mixture of Hindi, Urdu and Marathi.
  • Mewati - Dialect spoken in Mewat region of Rajasthan and Haryana.
  • Pothahari - Dialect of Punjabi and differs from other standard Punjabi dialects in pronunciation.
  • Hariyanavi or Jatu or Bangaru - Dialect of Hindi, popular in Haryana and the Jats of Delhi.
  • Khariboli or Khadiboli - Dialect of Hindi, mostly spoken in western Uttar Pradesh.
History of Languages in India
The earliest language of India was the language of Indus Valley civilization, but due to very less availability of their script, it has not been deciphered properly. However, the four major language groups of early India are the Dravidian, the Sino-Tibetan, the Austric and Indo-Aryan.

The Vedas belong to Indo-Aryan. Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada are the Dravidian language which evolved during the 7th century A.D. The Austric are the Munda and Kol speeches of central and eastern part of India. The language of the Assamese and Khamti (now sparsely spoken by some tribes in northeastern border) is derived from the Sino-Tibetan.

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