Indian language

indian flag

The Republic of India is a country that belongs to Asia and whose capital is New Delhi. It is the 2nd most populous country in the world, with more than 1,300 million people, and the 7th largest (3,287,263 km 2). Its human development index is medium (131st) and its official currency is the Indian rupee. And what language is spoken in India?

What language do they speak in India?

India has no declared national language in its constitution, but has two official languages:

  • Hindi, in the Devanagari script, is the official language.
  • English, as an additional language for the government, to work alongside Hindi.

However, each state in India has the freedom and power to specify their own official languages, and that is why in India there are a total of 22 recognized official languages, of which Hindi is the most widely spoken. None of these languages ​​(with the exception of Hindi) is spoken by more than 10% of the Indian population. Here is an exhaustive list of official languages ​​by state:

(LEGEND) They have as official language any of the Republic of India: Hindi, English or both (at the same level).

Condition Official languages Additional official languages
Andhra Pradesh Telugu
Arunachal Pradesh English, Assamese
Assamese English Bengali (in 3 districts) and Bodo (in Bodoland Territorial Council areas)
Bihar Hindi Urdu
Chhattisgarh Hindi
Goan Konkani marathi
Gujarat Gujarati Hindi
Haryana Hindi English and Punjabi
Himachal Pradesh Hindi English
Jammu and Kashmir Urdu
Jharkhand Hindi Urdu
Karnataka kannada
Kerala Malayalam English
madhya pradesh Hindi
Maharashtra marathi English
Manipur manipuri English
Meghalaya English khasi and garo
mizoram Mizo, English and Hindi
Nagaland English
odisha Oriya English
punjab Punjabi
Rajasthan Hindi English
Sikkim Nepali 10 local languages
Tamilnadu tamil
Telangana Telugu Urdu
Tripura Bengali, English and Kokborok
Uttar Pradesh Hindi Urdu
Uttarakhand Hindi Sanskrit
west bengal Bengali and English Nepali, Hindi, Oriya, Santali, Urdu, Punjabi, Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi, and Kurmali

As can be seen, there are 8 states without any official language of those of the Republic of India, which shows the great linguistic dispersion of the country. Hindi is official in 12 of the 29 states, while English is official in 14 states.

If we take into account the rest of the non-official languages, India is the fourth country in the world with the highest number of spoken languages, with a total of 448 languages. The top-5 is completed by Papua New Guinea 1st, with 841, Indonesia 2nd, with 707, Nigeria 3rd (519) and China 5th (299). Instead, it leads the ranking for the number of endangered languages, with 197. It is followed by the US, with 191, and Brazil, with 190. India may have lost more than 200 languages ​​since 1961.

Eighth annex of the constitution

It is in the eighth annex of the Indian constitution (Eight Schedule) where these 22 official languages ​​of the regions of India are collected. This inclusion means that the language has the right to representation in the country’s Official Language Commission, and that this language is one of the bases used to enrich Hindi, the official language of the union.

However, this list has become more important since then. The government of India is under the obligation to take measures for the development of these languages.

Most widely spoken official languages ​​of India

Below is a list of the 22 official languages ​​and the number of people who speak them, ordered from largest to smallest. In addition, there are requests to include 41 additional languages.

Note: English is not included as it is a foreign language (it is still an official language).

India language map

To get an idea of ​​which language dominates each region, the following map shows each of these dominant languages.

most spoken languages ​​in india by region

Most languages ​​dominate only one region of India, which are: Ao, Assamese, Bhili, Kannada (Kannada), Kashmiri (Kashmiri), Khasi, Konkani, Manipuri, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Nissi, Oriya, Punjabi and telugu The languages ​​that are present as the most common in more than one state are:

  • Bengali (3 states): Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Tripura, and West Bengal.
  • Gujarati (2 states): Daman and Diu, and Gujarat.
  • Hindi (11 states): Bijar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Hariana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttaranchal.
  • Malayalam (2 states): Kerala and Lakshadweep.
  • Tamil (3 states): Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.

If we draw a map with the size of the circles in relation to the number of speakers it has, the result is the following.

map of languages ​​in india in relation to their size

The Hindi language

Hindi (हिन्दी) is spoken by 25% of the population; however, if all the dialects of Hindi are taken into account, this percentage rises to 44%, the majority being inhabitants of the so-called Hindi Belt. It is the language used for official purposes such as parliamentary and judicial procedures or communications between the central government and the governments of each state.

hindi belt in india

The English language

English (English) is the additional official language of the country, a legacy of the British colonial period. It is often used among Indians and in interstate communications as the lingua franca.

About 13% of the population speaks English, which translates to about 170 million people.

The Bengali language

Bengali (বাংলা) is a native language of the Bengal region, which comprises the nation of Bangladesh and the Hindu states of West Bengal, Tripura, and the Barak Valley (Assam).

It is the seventh most spoken language in the world by native people. In India, it is spoken by 83 million people, making it the second most important local language after Hindi.

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