Posted in India, Languages

Languages of India

Twenty-two languages are officially recognised in India in addition to English. Apart from this there are numerous dialects and the 1961 census (which had extra details) listed 1,652 languages used as mother tongues in India. Of these, thirty-three are spoken by over one lakh [100,000] people.
At the time of independence, Hindi in Devanagari script was recognised as the official language of India, with English also being  authorised as the legislative and judicial language. Regional languages were  official languages in various the states. The Eighth Schedule was added to the constitution which listed recognised languages. These were: (1) Assamese; (2) Bengali; (3) Gujarati; (4) Hindi; (5) Kannada; (6) Kashmiri; (7) Malayalam; (8) Marathi; (9) Oriya; (10) Punjabi; (11) Sanskrit; (12) Tamil; (13) Telugu (14) Urdu. In 1967 the Twenty-first amendment to the constitution added the Sindhi language to the list.
In 1992, Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added to these, by the seventy-seventh amendment to the constitution; bringing the total up to eighteen. In 2003 the 92nd constitutional amendment added four more languages: Bodo, Maithili, Dogri, and Santali.
Other languages spoken by over one million people are:  Gondi, Bhili/Bhilodi, Kurukh/Oraon, Tulu and Ho.
The languages and dialects of India, can be classified into four main language groups. These are Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic or Austric and Sino-Tibetan/Tibeto Burman. There are also some languages of other languages families, spoken by small groups. Of the languages mentioned above, the following are Indo-Aryan: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Urdu, Konkani, Nepali and Dogri. This is the largest language group in India and accounts for 74 per cent of the population.
Dravidian languages include Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, Kurukh/Oraon and Gondi. Manipuri is a Sino-Tibetan language, whereas Santali and Ho belong to the Austro-Asiatic group.

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A writer with eight published books and several articles, book reviews etc. I primarily write on history and religion, but would love to switch to fiction.

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