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What language is spoken in India?

  • Official languages ​​of India, language map

    Russian language in India

    India is a mysterious country. Therefore, foreigners have many questions for her. What language is in India? Is there a single Indian language? Is there a map of the languages ​​of India?

    If you find yourself in India, then most likely the first place your foot sets in this holy land will be the airport. And you will immediately hear that Indians, so similar in appearance, speak English to each other. They don’t have time to figure out who is coming from - for sure, the interlocutor comes from another state, which means that they speak different languages ​​and will not understand each other.

    There are as many languages ​​in India as there are people

    This is natural, because in addition to the two official languages, Hindi and English, 22 languages ​​are recognized in India. And this is not taking into account the dialects and dialects - so there are more than 440 living languages ​​of India!

    Some interesting numbers for statistics

    Linguists found that the Indian language has more than 2 thousand dialects. In schools in India, instruction is provided in 58 languages. Newspapers are published in 87 languages. Films are released on 15.

    The most common languages ​​in India and the number of speakers

    Indian language is divided into 4 groups, according to geographical distribution:

    1. Indo-European family (north, west, center),
    2. Dravidian family (south, center),
    3. Austro-Asian family (east),
    4. Tibetan-Burmese family (north).

    They are arranged in descending order by the number of people who speak these languages. So, Indo-European languages ​​are more than 70% of the languages ​​of India, and Tibetan-Burmese make up no more than 0.5%.

    As we see the most common Indo-European group of languages

    They say that in the Himalayas they use additional different dialects and dialects, which simply no one keeps counting.

    The official language of India, Hindi, ranks 5th in the world in number. He was overtaken by Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and, of course, English. Which, in turn, is the official language of India.

    Hindi is a very ancient language and is official in India

    Official languages ​​of India and their map by state

    Each state of India has its own language:

    • Hindi (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh),
    • Punjabi (Punjab),
    • Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir),
    • Marathi (Maharashtra),
    • Urdu (Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh),
    • Maithili (Bihar),
    • Konkani (Goa),
    • Kannada (Karnataka),
    • Tamulsky (Tamil Nadu),
    • Malayalam (Kerala),
    • Oriya (Orissa),
    • Gujarati (Gujarat),
    • Sindhi (Gujarat),
    • Telugu (Andra Pradesh),
    • Nepali (Sikkim),
    • Assamese (Assam),
    • Bengali (Bengal),
    • Tripuri (Tripura),
    • Adi (Arunachal Pradesh),
    • Miso (Mizoram),
    • Manipuri (Manipur),
    • Angami (Nagaland).
    More detailed language map of India.

    What is this language that everyone has heard of, but no one speaks? The fact is that Sanskrit is the ancient language of India. It has been used at least since antiquity, that is, in the 1st century BC. and earlier, but now it is only a cultural heritage.

    Sanskrit was distributed among the elite and upper classes, was used to write sacred religious texts, hymns, treatises, etc. The Upanishads and the Rig Veda are written in the Vedic language of India, the oldest form of Sanskrit.

    Many ancient treatises and texts have been written in Sanskrit.

    It is interesting that Sanskrit did not appear to have its original written language - the information was transmitted, for the most part, verbally, and if it was necessary to write something, then they used the written language of already existing languages, for example, brahmi, devangari or kharoshthi.

    Sanskrit later evolved from a Vedic to an epic. The legendary “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” were written on it.

    The whole cultural heritage of India is written in ancient Sanskrit

    Patanjali turned epic Sanskrit into a classic, on this his modifications ended. After the advent of the Christian era, Sanskrit was not used in its natural form and remained only a formality for worship.

    Nowadays, scientists equate Sanskrit with the Latin language and consider it “dead”.

    Phrasebook is not needed!

    Despite the fact that there are more than 400 languages ​​in India, a very large part of the Indians speak English. Indeed, their emphasis is peculiar and difficult to understand at first. However, the communication style of the Indians is logical - they reduce all parts of speech to the maximum, if only to convey the essence to the interlocutor. There are many jokes that there is an English language, but in India they speak only Indian English.

    English often takes on comic forms in India

    Instead of asking “Would you like some tea?”, The Indian will ask “Tea?” Or even like that: “Chai?”. Instead of “Do you need a place to stay?” Or “Are you looking for a hotel?”, He will simply say “Room”. And everything will be clear!

    If you travel to India, visiting popular tourist cities or points, visiting Indian shops and hotels, you better remember or learn some basic English expressions. They will be very needed.

    The chart shows that almost a quarter of the Indians speak English

    And if you decide to take an extreme tour and visit the wild places of this extraordinary country, then no phrase book will help you.

    In places where residents of the CIS often travel, Indians have already learned Russian. For example, in Goa, you can live in peace without knowing either Indian or English.

    Russian language in India

    Thanks to the active work of the Soviet Union aimed at expanding foreign policy, in the 1930s, Russian culture began to strengthen in India. The Russian language began to be taught at the University of Delhi, then the universities of Allahabad, Hyderabad and Pune joined it.

    Opening linguistic faculties with departments of Russian culture and language in the 1960s, India opened the doors for the exchange of cultural knowledge and heritage.

    Since the days of the USSR, Russia and India exchanged knowledge, including in the study of languages

    By 1980, there were already 30 universities with a Russian-language department. Nowadays, the Russian Center for Science and Culture is engaged in the popularization of the Russian language in India: in Chennai, Mumbai and Calcutta, any Indian who wishes can learn Russian.

    In addition, many Indians study in Russia - thanks to exchange programs, they receive a quality education (for example, medical), and upon returning home, they can freely interact with Russian-speaking tourists, which significantly increases their income.

    Many in India know the Russian language and communicate perfectly with tourists

    Judging by the number of languages, one can only once again see how colorful, diverse and completely incomprehensible this great country, India.

    Linguistic diversity in India

    In India, a rather unusual language situation has developed. In the country There are many nationalities that practice their religions and adhere to certain cultural traditions.. This situation is due to historical events that took place over many centuries.

    At different times, nationalities lived in India, between which various interactions took place. Some of them tried to expand their influence on other peoples, others wanted to develop economic ties, for the third it was important to instill their own faith. Anyway, for all time, India failed to become a unitary state, united by common views on different aspects of life. In the country today there are many nationalities that live apart from each other. Perhaps this is precisely the reason for the lack of stability and positive economic development.

    All languages ​​that are distributed in India are divided into four main groups:

    1. Indo-Aryan (Indo-European). The most common Indo-European language among the inhabitants of India is Hindi, as well as its dialects. According to 2002 data, it is spoken by about 422 million residents of the state. Most of the population of West Bengal speaks mainly Bengali, Gujarat - Gujarati (about 70%), Kashmir - Kashmiri (55%), Jammu - Dogri, Assam - Assamese (about 60%). Indo-Aryan languages ​​also include Marahti, Oriya, Urdu, Punjabi, Maithili, Sindhi, Konkani, Nepali and Sanskrit.
    2. Sino-Tibetan. It includes the Bodo language, which is spoken in the state of Assam, and manipuri.
    3. Dravidian. In the state of Karnataka, located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, more than 95% of the population use the Kannada language. The Dravidian language group also includes Tamil, Telugu and Malayam.
    4. Australasian. In India, this group is represented in only one language - Santali.
    Gujarati and Bengali Alphabets

    If we generalize the situation with the prevalence of various languages ​​in India, then it looks like this:

    • The northern and central region of the state is mainly the prevalence of the Indo-Aryan language group.
    • In the southern part of the country, the highest probability is to meet a person who speaks the language of the Dravidian group.
    • In the northeastern states, Sino-Tibetan languages ​​are more common among the population.
    • The population speaking the languages ​​of the Australasian (Australian) group is mainly the Santal tribes living in the eastern part of the country.

    Total more than 30 languages ​​prevail as the main ones in India. But, taking into account all the dialects used by the population, this figure can be represented several hundred.

    Before arriving in a particular state of India, it is better to learn a few words in advance from the language or dialect in which the locals speak. This will help to navigate in any situation.

    India is amazing in that 22 languages ​​are recognized as official in this country. According to the results of 2002, obtained as a result of the census, it can be concluded about their prevalence in the country (data are presented in descending order):

    • Hindi,
    • Bengali (Bengali),
    • Marathi (most common in the state of Maharashtra - the most economically developed),
    • Telugu,
    • Tamil,
    • Urdu (by the way, is the official language of Pakistan),
    • Gujarati,
    • Kannada
    • Malayalam
    • Oriya
    • Punjabi
    • Assamese
    • Maithili,
    • santali
    • Kashmiri
    • Nepali,
    • Sinds
    • Konkani
    • get ready
    • Manipuri
    • bodo.

    There are other languages ​​spoken in different parts of India. True, many of them are less common (bagheli, marvari, bundes, etc.). There are also languages ​​resulting from the merger of the other two languages. For example, a combination of Hindi and English contributed to the emergence of Hinglish, and a mixture of Urdu and Hindi - Hindustani.

    The official language in India

    State in India is a language that is more than one thousand years old - Hindi. But, despite the fact that it is the main one and the number of its carriers in the state is enormous, many people from different states of the country simultaneously speak other languages. However, we’ll talk about them a little later, and now we will pay more attention to Hindi, which undoubtedly deserves this.

    Hindi alphabet - from the children's textbook

    The peculiarity of Hindi is that a lot of words in it are borrowed from Sanskrit - the oldest, incredibly complex, but grammatically “correct” language. If Hindi is a more spoken language, then Sanskrit is literary. To make it clearer, we can give an example. A similar situation is observed in the case of the Italian language, in which many words are taken from Latin.

    Knowing at least the most basic of Hindi, you can seamlessly travel to India. Such a trained tourist will be understood everywhere, since more than 500 million Indians speak Hindi.

    Knowing at least partially this national Indian language, some difficulties in communicating with local should not arise. English is also a good helper for traveling around India. And now we’ll figure out why.

    The status of English in the state

    Government acknowledges that English is the same national language in India as Hindi. And this can be explained by the historical events that this long-suffering Asian country has experienced.

    As far back as the 17th century, England, as part of the East India Campaign, established trade that was advantageous for itself with India. Great Britain had a hundred years to ensure that the Asian country was able to completely submit and become its colony.

    England was central to everything. She established her orders in the commercial, social, governmental and other spheres of life of Indians. Local residents were given the role of cheap labor, engaged in the extraction and supply of various raw materials, as well as in the production of goods.

    We can’t talk only about the negative influence of England on India, since this highly developed country still managed to do a lot for it. The inhabitants of this Asian state have always been characterized by a certain passivity, humility, unwillingness to seriously change anything in their lives. The Indians, rather, just try to adapt to the conditions, but not fight for their improvement. By the way, some people mistakenly call Indians Hindus, although in fact a Hindu is a Hindu religionist.

    Sanskrit inscription on the stone

    Since there are many nationalities in India who do not want to put up with the views and beliefs of each other, this leads to numerous internal conflicts. AND, perhaps it was thanks to England and her ability to control the states of her colony for a long time that did not allow India to split. To this day, the Indian authorities use effective institutions of government and many other achievements of a highly developed society, which were borrowed from England.

    Until 1947, the population of India absorbed the features of English culture, introduced appropriate management models, and adopted the language of the conqueror. AND, despite the fact that the state gained independence even more than half a century ago, England’s connection with India is still strong. Cost-effective relationships enable each country to receive what it needs.

    Today, the English language is actively used when communicating with foreigners, especially in the tourism sector. Also in this language, most meetings are held with foreign colleagues, partners and politicians.

    In 1965, the Indian government wanted to decide that only Hindi remained the official language. However, nothing came of it, as many states did not support this decision.

    Let's summarize. India is a multinational and multilingual country. This feature of the state has developed historically. In it, 22 languages ​​are recognized as official, and the state languages ​​are two languages ​​- Hindi and English.

    But in fact, languages ​​and, moreover, dialects are used here even more. Really amazing India is amazing in everything.