The official language of India is Hindi, followed by English. There are 22 other officially recognized languages in India.
They include Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, and Urdu. In addition, each state or union territory in India has its official language.
For example, in Uttar Pradesh, the official language is Hindi, while Tamil Nadu is Tamil. In addition to these official languages, hundreds of other languages get spoken in India. The most commonly spoken languages include Marathi, Telugu, and Malayalam.
Many people in India speak more than one language. In fact, according to the 2001 census, around 122 million Indians (approximately 9% of the population) spoke more than one language. It is in part due to the country’s diverse population. India is home to people of many different religions, cultures, and linguistic groups.
Hindi is the most commonly spoken language in India, but everyone does not speak it. There are many regions of India where Hindi is not the primary language.
Despite the many languages spoken in India, English is still an essential language for business and government dealings. Also, English is a basic language taught in schools throughout the country. As a result, many Indians can speak English fluently. In addition, Indian English has its unique accent and vocabulary words.
So what are some other interesting facts about Indian languages? Here are a few:
Bengali and Assamese Language
both official languages in the Indian state of Assam, are similar. They share a common script, and 70% of their vocabulary is identical.
Many people in Gujarat don’t speak Gujarati; instead, they speak a language called Rajasthani (or Marwari). However, most speakers of Rajasthani do not live in the state of Rajasthan. They live in neighboring states like Haryana and Punjab.
There are more than 780 different communities that use Gujarati as their primary language. These communities include Jains, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. However, Gujarati itself does not reflect any specific religious or cultural group; instead, it represents a geographic region in western India.
The Bhoti language is spoken almost entirely by Buddhist monks living in northern India and Nepal. There are around 200 monasteries that use the language. These monasteries date back to between 200 BC and 1200 AD. The oldest surviving texts written in this language are from the 8th century.
Hindi and Urdu Language
The Hindi and Urdu languages are very similar. They are considered dialects of the same language. They share a common script, and around 60% of their vocabulary is identical.
The Tamil language is one of the oldest languages in the world. It is estimated to be at least 4,000 years old. It is also one of the most spoken languages in India, with around 80 million speakers.
Telugu is the most spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali. There are around 73 million Telugu speakers in India. It is also the official language of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Malayalam is the official language of the Indian state of Kerala. India’s fifth most common language, with around 38 million speakers.
India has one of the largest populations of English speakers globally. Around 20 to 30 million people in India speak English fluently. Many Indians also speak other European languages, such as French, German, Portuguese, and Italian. Around 150 million Indians know English because most schools throughout the country teach the language.
The Konkani language is spoken by around 2.5 million people in the Indian states of Goa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. It is also the official language of the Indian state of Goa.
Around 4 million people speak the Kashmiri language in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages in India.
Around 1 million people speak the Manipuri language in the Indian state of Manipur. It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages in India.
Around 16 million people speak the Nepali language in Nepal and India. It is also the official language of Nepal.
So there you have it. India has a rich diversity of languages. Each one is unique and holds an important part in the country’s history. If you are interested in learning more about Indian languages, visit the Ethnologue World Languages website for further information.