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Languages of India

India is the home of many languages. India is a vast country with lot of cultural and geographical diversities. There are a number of languages spoken in India. Some of these languages are accepted nationally while others are accepted as dialects of that particular region. The foreign intrusions have left an impact on the Indian local languages. English language, the legacy of the British rule in India, became the commonly used official language of India.

The eighth schedule of the Indian constitution recognizes 22 languages. All these languages have evolved from the great language families drawn from history. The major ones to make an influence are the Aryan and the Dravidian. They have influenced each other and have, in turn, been influenced by the Austeric and Sino-Tibetan tongues.

The Indian Constitution (Article 343) declares Hindi to be the official language of the Union. Hindi is also the mother tongue of about 20% of the Indian population in the area known as the 'Hindi-belt' or the 'cow-belt' of northern India. This includes the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand/Uttaranchal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan. Haryana and Himachal Pradesh also have Hindi as their official language. Like the other languages of the north, Hindi is of Indo-Aryan origin. But in south India, it's quite a different scene altogether. The Dravidian languages bear little resemblance to their Indic or Indo-Aryan counterparts.

English enjoys a special status and remains the additional official language of India. It is the authoritative legislative and judicial language. In fact, one could say that English is the official language of India for all practical purposes.

Apart from the more widely spoken English and Hindi, there are the various regional languages. Each state has its own language which is generally its official language. The 8th schedule of the Constitution of India lists 22 such regional languages.

 

A language of Assam that's spoken by nearly 60 percent of the State's population.
Bengali
An official language of West Bengal, now spoken by nearly 200 million people in West Bengal and in Bangladesh.
Bodo
It is the language spoken by the Bodo people of Assam and comes under the Assam-Burmese group of languages
Dogri
Mainly spoken by the people of Jammu region
Gujarati
It is the official language of Gujarat. 70 percent of the State's population speak Gujrathi but it the most spread language not only in India but also abroad.
Hindi
The official language of India, accent and dialect differs with different regions but almost every Indian has a working knowledge of Hindi. It is written in a Devanagiri script.
Kannada
A language of Karnataka and is spoken by 65 percent of the state's population. It belongs to the Dravidian family.
Kashmiri
Though the language is mistaken as a state language of Kashmir only 55 per cent of the state's population speak Kashmiri.
Konkani
Spoken in the Konkan region stretched across Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
Maithili
Mostly spoken in the parts of Bihar and the eastern Terai region of Nepal
Malayalam
The state language of Kerala. It is the youngest of all developed languages in the Dravidian family.
Manipuri/Meitei
official language of state of Manipur.
Marathi
An official language of Maharashtra. It has a fully developed literature of the modern type.
Nepali
The official language of Nepal, it is also spoken in some north eastern parts of India
Oriya
A branch of the Indo-Aryan family, is the official language of the State of Orissa.
Punjabi
The official language of the State of Punjab. It is written in Gurmukhi script, created by the Sikh Guru, Angad.
Sanskrit
The classical language of India that has lost it's value in the modern world. It is also one of the oldest languages in the world- perhaps the oldest to be recorded. All the ancient scripts are found to be written in the same language.
Santhali
Santhal tribals of the Chota Nagpur Plateau (comprising the states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa)
Sindhi
Is spoken by a great number of people in the Northwest frontier of the Indian sub-continent comprising parts of India and Pakistan.
Tamil
The State language of Tamil Nadu. Tamil literature goes back to Centuries before the Christian era and is spoken by more than 73 million people. It belongs to the Dravidian language family.
Telugu
A language of Andhra Pradesh. It is numerically the biggest linguistic unit in India.
Urdu
The state language of Jammu and Kashmir and is spoken by more than 28 million people in India. Urdu and Hindi have proceeded from the same source. Urdu is written in the Persio - Arabic script and contains many words from the Persian language.