Languages in India

India, a potpourri of different cultures, religions and beliefs, is home to not just one or two languages but to an uncountable number of different lingual families. Languages belonging to the two major language families - Indo Aryan and Dravidian - are spoken by more than 90% of the people of India. Know more about the languages of India with India Language Map.

According to Ethnologue, India is considered to be home to 461 languages, out of which 14 have been reported to be extinct.

But still there is not a single Indian language that is spoken across its length and breadth. Hindi is spoken by a majority of North Indians, but it is not a popular means of communication in the southern part of India. Similarly, South Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam are not understood by the people of North India.

For the convenience of people, the Constitution of India has recognised 22 languages as the official languages of India. These are known as Scheduled Languages and constitute the major languages of the country. India Language Map provides detailed information about these languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution and spoken in different parts of the country.

The list of some of the Indian languages includes:

Besides these, there are other languages, which are spoken by large masses but have still not acquired the status of Scheduled Languages of India. These languages spoken by regional people are known as regional languages of India. These include Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Bhili, Gondi and Tulu among others.

Some Indian languages are not widely spoken and have been given the status of minority languages. Mahl and Portuguese languages come under this category.

List by number of native speakers in India

The 2001 census recorded 29 individual languages as having more than 1 million native speakers

Rank Language 2001 census
    Speakers Percentage
1 Hindi languages 422,048,642 41.03%
2 Bengali 83,369,769 8.11%
3 Telugu 74,002,856 7.19%
4 Marathi 71,936,894 6.99%
5 Tamil 60,793,814 5.91%
6 Urdu 51,536,111 5.01%
7 Gujarati 46,091,617 4.48%
8 Kannada 37,924,011 3.69%
9 Malayalam 33,066,392 3.21%
10 Oriya 33,017,446 3.21%
11 Punjabi 29,102,477 2.83%
12 Assamese 13,168,484 1.28%
13 Maithili 12,179,122 1.18%
14 Bhili/Bhilodi 9,582,957 0.93%
15 Santali 6,469,600 0.63%
16 Kashmiri 5,527,698 0.54%
17 Nepali 2,871,749 0.28%
18 Gondi 2,713,790 0.26%
19 Sindhi 2,535,485 0.25%
20 Konkani 2,489,015 0.24%
21 Dogri 2,282,589 0.22%
22 Khandeshi 2,075,258 0.21%
23 Kurukh 1,751,489 0.17%
24 Tulu 1,722,768 0.17%
25 Meitei/Manipuri 1,466,705* 0.14%
26 Bodo 1,350,478 0.13%
27 Khasi 1,128,575 0.11%
28 Mundari 1,061,352 0.10%
29 Ho 1,042,724 0.10%

Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength - 2001

S. No. Language Persons who returned the language as their mother tongue Percentage to total population
1 Hindi 422,048,642 41.03
2 Bengali 83,369,769 8.11
3 Telugu 74,002,856 7.19
4 Marathi 71,936,894 6.99
5 Tamil 60,793,814 5.91
6 Urdu 51,536,111 5.01
7 Gujarati 46,091,617 4.48
8 Kannada 37,924,011 3.69
9 Malayalam 33,066,392 3.21
10 Oriya 33,017,446 3.21
11 Punjabi 29,102,477 2.83
12 Assamese 13,168,484 1.28
13 Maithili 12,179,122 1.18
14 Santali 6,469,600 0.63
15 Kashmiri 5,527,698 0.54
16 Nepali 2,871,749 0.28
17 Sindhi 2,535,485 0.25
18 Konkani 2,489,015 0.24
19 Dogri 2,282,589 0.22
20 Manipuri * 1,466,705 0.14
21 Bodo 1,350,478 0.13
22 Sanskrit 14,135 N

States official languages

SL NO STATES Official Languages Additional Official Languages
1 Andhra Pradesh Telugu Urdu
2 Arunachal Pradesh English  
3 Assam Assamese  
4 Bihar Hindi Urdu
5 Chhattisgarh Hindi  
6 Goa Konkani Marathi
7 Gujarat Gujarati  
8 Haryana Hindi  
9 Himachal Pradesh Hindi English
10 Jammu and Kashmir Urdu  
11 Jharkhand Hindi Urdu
12 Karnataka Kannada  
13 Kerala Malayalam  
14 Madhya Pradesh Hindi  
15 Maharashtra Marathi  
16 Manipur Manipuri English
17 Meghalaya English Khasi
18 Mizoram Mizo, English, Hindi  
19 Nagaland English  
20 Odisha Odia  
21 Punjab Punjabi (in Gurumukhi Script)  
22 Rajasthan Hindi English
23 Sikkim English  
24 Tamil Nadu Tamil English
25 Telangana Telugu and Urdu  
26 Tripura Bengali, Kokborok and English  
27 Uttar Pradesh Hindi Urdu
28 Uttarakhand Hindi  
29 West Bengal Bengali Hindi, Urdu, Santhali, Oriya and Punjabi, Nepali
SL NO Union Territory Official Languages Other officially recognised languages
1 Andaman and Nicobar Islands English, Hindi  
2 Chandigarh English Punjabi and Hindi
3 Dadra and Nagar Haveli Hindi and Gujarati Marathi
4 Daman and Diu Konkani and Gujarati  
5 Delhi Hindi Punjabi, Urdu
6 Lakshadweep English Hindi
7 Puducherry Tamil, English Malayalam and Telugu

SOURCES:

50th REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR LINGUISTIC MINORITIES IN INDIA (July 2012 to June 2013)

http://nclm.nic.in/shared/linkimages/ NCLM50thReport.pdf


Other local languages and dialects

The 2001 census identified the following native languages having more than one million speakers. All of them are dialects/variants grouped under Hindi or Oriya.

sl no state speakers
1 Bhojpuri 33,099,497
2 Rajasthani 18,355,613
3 Magadh/Magahi 13,978,565
4 Chhattisgarhi 13,260,186
5 Haryanvi 7,997,192
6 Marwari 7,936,183
7 Malvi 5,565,167
8 Mewari 5,091,697
9 Khorth/Khotta 4,725,927
10 Bundeli/Bundelkhan 3,072,147
11 Bagheli/Baghel Khan 2,865,011
12 Pahari 2,832,825
13 Laman/Lambadi 2,707,562
14 Awadhi 2,529,308
15 Harauti 2,462,867
16 Garhwali 2,267,314
17 Nimadi 2,148,146
18 Sadan/Sadri 2,044,776
19 Kumauni 2,003,783
20 Dhundhari 1,871,130
21 Surgujia 1,458,533
22 Bagri Rajasthani 1,434,123
23 Banjari 1,259,821
24 Nagpuria (Varhadi) 1,242,586
25 Surajpuri 1,217,019
26 Kangri 1,122,843