Languages

Quick overview

India has about 18 major languages and 844 different dialects. Hindi is spoken by about 45 % of the population and is the national language. However English has been kept as a language for official communication (the linking language).

Assamese
The language of Assam and is spoken by nearly 60 percent of the State's population.

Bengali
One of the leading Indo-Aryan languages. The official language of West Bengal. It developed as a language in the 13th century and is now spoken by about 200 million people in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Gujarati
The official language of Gujarat and is spoken by 70 % of the State's population.

Hindi
Numerically the biggest of the Indo-Aryan family and is the official language of India. Hindi is also the official language in 6 states and union territories.

Kannada
The state language of Karnataka and is spoken by 65 % of the state's population. It belongs to the Dravidian family and dates back to the 9th century as an independent language.

Kashmiri
A language of the Indo-Aryan group and is often mistaken as the state language of Jammu and Kashmir. Urdu is the state language of Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmiri speaking population of the state comes to around 55%.

Konkani
The official language of Goa, principally based on classical Sanskrit and belongs to the southwestern branch of Indo-Aryans. It is also spoken by thousands of Konkanis in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.

Malayalam
A branch of the Dravidian family. The official language of Kerala. Malayalam developed as an independent language in the 10th century AD. It is the youngest of all developed languages in the Dravidian family.

Marathi
The Indic language dates back to the 13th century. It is the official language of Maharashtra.

Oriya
A branch of the Indo-Aryan family.The official language of Orissa, where the Oriya speaking population are around 82% of the total population.

Punjabi
Belongs to the Indo-Aryan family and is the official language of the State of Punjab. Punjabi, though very ancient, turned literary around the 15th Century. From the 19th Century, Punjabi showed vigorous development in all branches of literature. It is written in Gurmukhi script, created by the Sikh Guru, Angad.

Sindhi
Spoken by a great number of people. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan family and preserved some of the archaic characteristics of the Indo-Aryan script.

Tamil
The oldest of the Dravidian languages and it is the State language of Tamil Nadu. Tamil literature goes back to Centuries before the Christian era. It represents certain new literary types that are not in Sanskrit or other Aryan languages. It spoken by more than 73 million people.

Telugu
A Dravidian language spoken by the people of Andhra Pradesh. It is numerically the biggest linguistic unit in India. Telugu is found to be recorded in the 7th Century AD.

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 i.e., Khariboli. Urdu is written in the Persio-Arabic script and contains many words from the Persian language.



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