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Languages of India

Languages of India

The languages of India belong to several major linguistic families, the two largest being the Indo-European languages-Indo-Aryan (spoken by 70% of Indians) - and the Dravidian languages (spoken by 22% of Indians).

Individual mother tongues in India number several hundred; the 1961 census recognized 1,652. According to Census of India of 2001, 29 languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers, 122 by more than 10,000. Three millennia of language contact have led to significant mutual influence among the four language families in India and South Asia. Two contact languages have played an important role in the history of India: Persian and English.

Official Language:

The official language of the Republic of India is Hindi. Article 343(1) states "The Official Language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script." And that English could be also used for official purposes. The individual states can legislate their own official languages, depending on their linguistic demographics. Article 345 of the Indian constitution provides recognition to "official languages" of the union to include any one or more of the languages in use in the state or Hindi language adopted by a state legislature as the official language of that state.

The languages of the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution:

The Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution contains a list of 22 scheduled languages. The following table lists the languages set out in the eighth schedule as of May 2008, together with the regions where they are used.

Sl. No. Language Genetic affiliation Geographical distribution
1. Assamese/Axomiya Indo-Aryan, Eastern Assam
2. Bengali Indo-Aryan, Eastern West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura
3. Bodo Tibeto-Burman Assam
4. Dogri Indo-Aryan, Northern Jammu and Kashmir
5. Gujarati Indo-Aryan, Western Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu
6. Hindi Indo-Aryan, various the "Hindi belt", Northern India
7. Kannada Dravidian, Southern Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Goa
8. Kashmiri Dardic Jammu and Kashmir
9. Konkani Indo-Aryan, Southern Konkan (Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala)
10. Maithili Indo-Aryan, Eastern Bihar
11. Malayalam Dravidian, Southern Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé, Puducherry
12. Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei) Tibeto-Burman Manipur
13. Marathi Indo-Aryan, Southern Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa
14. Nepali Indo-Aryan, Northern Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam
15. Oriya Indo-Aryan, Eastern Orissa
16. Punjabi Indo-Aryan Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana
17. Sanskrit Indo-Aryan Mattur
18. Santali Munda Santal tribals of the Chota Nagpur Plateau (comprising the states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa)
19. Sindhi Indo-Aryan, Northwestern Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh
20. Tamil Dravidian, Southern Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra
21. Telugu Dravidian, South-Central Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa
22. Urdu Indo-Aryan, Central Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh

Languages currently used by Indian States and Union Territories:

Sl. No. States Official Language Other Officially Recognised Languages
1. Andhra Pradesh Telugu Urdu
2. Arunachal Pradesh English None
3. Assam Assamese Bengali, Bodo
4. Bihar Hindi Urdu
5. Chhattisgarh Hindi None
6. Goa Konkani Marathi
7. Gujarat Gujarati, Hindi  
8. Haryana Hindi Punjabi
9. Himachal Pradesh Hindi Pahari
10. Jammu and Kashmir Urdu None
11. Jharkhand Hindi None
12. Karnataka Kannada  
13. Kerala Malayalam English
14. Madhya Pradesh Hindi  
15. Maharashtra Marathi  
16. Manipur Meitei None
17. Meghalaya English Khasi, Garo
18. Mizoram Mizo None
19. Nagaland English None
20. Orissa Oriya, None
21. Punjab Punjabi None
22. Rajasthan Hindi None
23. Sikkim Nepali None
24. Tamil Nadu Tamil None
25. Tripura English, Bengali, Kokborok None
26. Uttarakhand English, Hindi Urdu
27. Uttar Pradesh Hindi Urdu, Bojpoori
28. West Bengal Bengali Nepali
Sl. No. Union Territories Official Language Other Officially Recognised Languages
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands Hindi, English Telugu , Tamil
2. Chandigarh Punjabi, Hindi  
3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli Marathi, Gujarati  
4. Daman and Diu Gujarati, English Marathi
5. Delhi Hindi Urdu, Punjabi
6. Lakshadweep Malayalam, Tamil  
7. Pondicherry French, Tamil, English Telugu, Malayalam

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