The *Many* Languages of INDIA!

Hello everyone, welcome to the Langfocus channel and my name is Paul Today we’re going to talk about one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. That country is India. The exact number of languages spoken among India’s 1.3 billion people is hard to pinpoint exactly. Different sources give different numbers, and that’s partly because they have different ideas about what can be classified as a separate language as opposed to a dialect. According to Ethnologue, there are 448 languages. According to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, there are 780 languages, and then there is the Indian Census data. On the Indian census, people can call their mother tongue whatever they want, and there was a total of 19,569 different language names among the responses. Of course that’s way too high. There aren’t even that many languages in the whole world. Some people probably just call the same language by different names depending on their locality or ethnicity. Those 19,969 names were grouped into 1369 mother tongues, and each of those mother tongues are further grouped under one of 121 languages. But that only includes languages with 10,000 or more speakers, so there must be more. India has two official languages at the national level. Hindi, and English There are also 22 scheduled languages. These are recognised and encouraged by the national government. The Indo-Aryan family, a branch of the Indo-European language family, which is predominant in northern India, and the Dravidian language family, which is predominant in southern India. The remainder, mostly belong to the Austro-Asiatic, Sino-Tibetan, and Tai-Kadai language families. These are the top ten most spoken languages in India according to the census. For each language, the numbers include all of the mother tongues associated with that language. If we define the language more narrowly, then the numbers might be lower for each language. For example, the total for Hindi includes the languages of the Hindi Belt, the area where Hindi-proper forms a dialect continuum with related languages like the Rajusthani languages, and most of the Bihari languages, and the Pahari languages. These languages are linguistically distinct from Hindi but are closely related to it, and since Hindi is the main official language in the states of the Hindi Belt, people often think of their languages as local varieties of Hindi. It does not, however, include Urdu, even though Urdu and Hindi are essentially the same language with different standard forms. For more information about the relationship between Hindi and Urdu, check out my video on that subject from a couple of years ago. The origin of the Dravidian languages is not known, and they share no clear links with any other language family. However, there are theories that the Dravidian languages could could be linked with the Uralic language family, including Hungarian and Finnish, or the disputed Altaic language family, which includes Turkish, Mongolian, Korean and Japanese. The oldest existing Dravidian writings are the Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, some of which date back to the 3rd or 4th century BCE. Some more recently discovered inscriptions may be even older. though we don’t have original inscriptions of those. Keep in mind that these are just the oldest inscriptions and literature that we know about, The languages are certainly older than that. But of course they’ve all developed a lot since those early days. In terms of grammar, Dravidian languages are agglutinative, This sentence means, “I eat mango”. This is the root verb, meaning “eat”, this suffix shows the present tense, and this suffix shows the first-person singular. Now in the future tense, “I will eat mango”. Here’s the verb root, this suffix indicates future tense, and again this is first-person singular. The most common word order is (Subject – Object – Verb) as we just saw in those sentences above, but the word order is flexible. For Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam, I’ve seen claims that Sanskrit words account for 65-80% of the vocabulary, but I’m not sure there’s a way to calculate that with precision. It’s true that in writing and in educated speech, a lot of Sanskrit words are used, but much less so in the rural areas and among less literate people. While the Dravidian languages have been influenced by Sanskrit, the Indo-Aryan languages are directly descended from Sanskrit. But Sanskrit, and its associated dialects, developed over time into Prakrits. These Prakrit languages then developed into the Indo-Aryan languages of northern India, much in the same way that Latin developed into Vulgar Latin, and then into the Romance languages. One well-known Prakrit is Pali, Magadhi is the ancestor of the eastern Indo-Aryan languages, including Bengali and others. Shauraseni Prakrit is the ancestor of the central Indo-Aryan languages, which include the Hindi languages. Maharashtri Prakrit is the ancestor of the southern Indo-Aryan languages, including Konkani, Marathi, as well as Sinhala, of Sri Lanka, and Dihevi of the Maldives. Just as the Dravidian languages have been an influenced by Sanskrit, the Indo-European languages have also been influenced by Dravidian languages, due to contact over the millenia. Even Sanskrit contains some Dravidian vocabulary, phonetic influence, and grammatical influence. But influence has also taken place over time since then, due to continuous contact, especially in languages bordering the Dravidian areas, like Marathi and Odia. As part of the Indo-European language family, One important feature of the Indo-Aryan languages is that Here are a few simple examples of every-day words in Hindi, that came from Persian. Those are just a few examples of the many words that are used. It’s interesting to note that in Urdu, these words are the same, but look exactly like the Persian words, because Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script. There was much less Persian influence on the Dravidian languages. That’s probably because northern India was more consistently under Muslim control than the south. It’s also probably because the Indo-Aryan languages are closer to Persian to begin with. which borders Bhutan. Meitei is the official language of the state of Manipur, which borders Myanmar. The many Sino-Tibetan languages in north-eastern India belong to the Tibeto-Burman sub-family, and are grouped geographically into a branch of Tibeto-Burman, but the exact relationship between many of these languages is unclear. despite its relatively small area and population. and the other official lanuage of Assam. While its vocabulary is based on Assamese, its grammar is rooted in Tibeto-Burman languages. One of the 22 scheduled languages, spoken in a number of states in eastern and north-eastern India. There are numerous other languages in India belonging to the same Munda branch of Austro-Asiatic. Austro-Asiatic doesn’t sound indigenous to India, does it? The Austro-Asiatic language family is the family that includes Vietnamese and the Khmer language of Cambodia. Scripts are one of the most intriguing aspects of India’s linguistic diversity. According to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, All of these Dravidian scripts are also used to write a number of minority languages and Sanskrit, in their respective regions Even though these scripts all derived from the same source, being able to read one doesn’t mean you can read the others without first learning them. And that brings me to an important question. With all of this linguistic diversity, how do Indians communicate with people who speak different native languages? Well, my understanding is that, in northern India, because the Indo-Aryan languages are closely related, they can become mutually intelligible through exposure. But, without exposure, their speakers can probably just pick out certain words in the other language. Many non-Hindi speakers can understand Hindi through exposure, even though they may not be able to speak it very well. So if they talk to a Hindi speaker, then there may be one-way intelligibility, or asymmetric intelligibility. But if the Hindi speaker learns to understand their language through exposure, then they may speak to each other in their own languages, and understand each other. But many Indians are multi-lingual, so they might fully communicate in Hindi, or in the other language Or, they might communicate in English. English becomes even more important when Indo-Aryan speakers communicate with Dravidian speakers, since their native languages are very different, and there may be some pride that prevents them from speaking the other language. Of course this is also true for the other languages belonging to the Sino-Tibetan and Austro-Asiatic familys, among others. It’s worth emphasising that every state or area has many languages spoken, but one particular language might dominate, and be used as a lingua franca, and it may not be Hindi or English. It might be the official language of that state, or it might be the most predominant language in that area. But, many Indians have told me that, in general, they just tend to spend more time with people who speak the same language as them. Leave your answers in the comments below this video. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out the various Langfocus social media accounts, and once again, thank you to all of my wonderful Patreon supporters, especially these people right here on the screen. They are my top-tier Patreon supporters. Many special thanks to them. And to everyone, thank you for watching and have a nice day. Subtitles by xoSorr0w

99 Replies to “The *Many* Languages of INDIA!

  1. நான் ஒரு தமிழன் . Tamil is my mother tongue. English is world commen language . For Telugu Malayalam Kannada Tamil is basic language. Tamil is world first language. I am so proud to be a Tamilan.

  2. I'm from India.
    Mother tongue : Sourashtra
    Fluent in English and tamil.
    Can understand Hindi, Sanskrit and Malayalam!

  3. I think this rule should be followed all over the country.
    1. Hindi
    2. English
    3 Any Indian Language other than Hindi(preferable mother tongue if not Hindi)
    4. Sanskrit(in any preferable Indian language)
    5. Regional Language.
    6. Any other International language.

    Learn means to be able to Understand Speak and Write.
    Top 4 is must, our of 3 and 5 you can choose one or both depending on one's wish.

    In this way no one's ego will get hurt.
    Neither for north Indian as he has to learn an additional language as per 3rd point.
    Nor for South Indian as they will learn their mother tongue as well as Hindi.
    Thus more connectivity btw North and South.

    Lastly, the following point is not a rule bit jhst a suggestion:
    During English or any other language's period only you have to speak in that language but rest of the time its your choice.

    I hope everyone will like.
    If there is improvement suggest it.

  4. It is greatest factor that makes india impervious to external invaders to penetrate India, understand and deal.

  5. I can speak Tamil (mother tongue)
    And I am also learning many languages ……….

  6. Indians are natural born polygots like. We are taught to learn 4-5 languages since birth suppose, I am native Bengali I know Bangla plus I live in Mumbai where Marathi is dominant so I speak Marathi thirdly Hindi and English are our Link languages so we have to learn even those. Plus I know Odia and Assamese because both belongs to same culture. I was trying to learn Tamil and Malayalam but it really fussed me out. Last as a born a Hindu Sanskrit must be know and Mother of all Indian languages is Sanskrit

  7. Tirhuta or Mithilakshar is used for Maithili language. Please correct it, otherwise over a time people will forget it forever.

  8. Hindi (mother tongue)
    I'll try to use the same language as the other person speaking to me.

  9. i am from west bengal in india. But i can speak 3 languages Bengali, english, hindi , more fluntly or too easily.

  10. Iam from Karnataka ( Kannada Is my mother tongue) ,I know
    TELUGU AND ENGLISH languages
    AND I am learning Tamil Lang (35% Learned ) Hindhi Lang 90% I know

  11. There are only two primitive racial groups in India acc to genetics ASI first and ANI later namely Ancestral South Indians out of Africa 50000 years and 10000 years back respectively and Ancestral North Indians and both of them are very rare nowadays since a lot of inter breeding happened in 500 BC to 500 AD.So yo ppl dont blindly call any of todays states as first and natives thats absolutely stupid

  12. I can speak Hindi even though i am not from India 🇮🇳.. I am from Bangladesh 🇧🇩 Bengali is my native language…

  13. Thank you for sharing very good information but one thing I could not understand i e , during excavation in india past we find pali languages inscription written in bhrami or maghadhi script which is oldest inscription and Sanskrit language written in Devanagari script in the later period of history . If possible please explain because archeology evidence show that pali language is older than Sanskrit language.

  14. My native language is Lepcha, and from my mother's side, it's Bhutia. I can Nepali, hindi, english, little bit of Tibetan. In total of six.

  15. I am from India..
    My native language is Marathi.
    My mother tongue is Urdu.
    I know Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Urdu & English..i only use them when meeting people with those different native languages..!!

  16. My mother tongue is Odia. Besides Odia, I speak hindi and English fluently , but can also understand marathi to some extent .
    Odia : With family members
    Hindi: With everyone I meet including family members
    English: only in an official setting and sometimes with certain friends

  17. When you have parents from India who speak two different Dravidian language and didn’t teach you. I understand everything I just don’t know how to speak. I could of been Multilingual. Thanks parents. My mom speaks five language: English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu.

  18. Bengali is my mother tongue. I can speak Hindi and English. I speak the other languages when someone cannot understand Bengali.

  19. Proud to be Indian ☺️☺️☺️ My language is తెలుగు(TELUGU)…
    TELUGU… is called as ITALIAN OF THE EAST….by C.P Brown…. దేశభాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స….(Telugu is the greatest Indian language) stated by Sri Krishna Deva Raya… Sad to see Telugu in 4th position from 2nd..😢😢😢😢

  20. Wow India is huge. I don’t even think Indo-Aryan should be considered Indo European it should be its own language branch. Too many differences.

  21. I'm sorry but its not "meitei " its "meitei mayek"… Anyway i speak hindi, english, manipuri and little punjabi

  22. From Kerala living in Belgium
    I speak :
    1.Malayalam (mother tongue)
    2. Urdu
    3. Hindi
    4. English
    5. French
    6. Dutch
    7. Polish

  23. I am a ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ (Kannadiga) & I can read, write & speak in मराठी (Marathi) & हिन्दी (Hindi) fairly well. I can read & write in தழிழ் (Tamil), తెలుగు (Telugu), മലയാളം (Malayalam) & ગુજરાતી (Gujarati) with minimal understanding. I can also read & write in ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Odia) & বাংলা (Bengla) to some extent but I struggle in understanding them & I’m currently learning संस्कृतम् (Sanskrit)

  24. Sanskrit is first created in 3rd century AD. No proofs are there that sanskrit is the oldest. Sanskrit is derived from prakrit.

  25. My mother tongue is thadou/Kuki and my father tongue is Neihsial both from manipur but it's different…settle in meghalaya Shillong north East India 🇮🇳

  26. Your analysis is based on the books written by British Scholars and The so called Indian Intellectuals trained in English in India and their sons etc..

    Now let me break it down..

    Davidian or Hindi or all languages came from Sanskrit. As alphabet's are same.

    If you go to far end of Kanyakumari or if you travel to Jammu.. in marriages or in any form of vedic rituals.. they use same words..

    So.. you can differentiate.. and define in thousand ways.. but.. people (So called Hindu born Indian Intellectuals) also support it and clap all the nonsense which you people are talking but when it comes to Marriage, Indians Invest Crores of Rupees (The so called Intellectuals or Rich Indians).. and they will call Brahmin Priest and he will read the same words – During marriage, during Death..and during new house entering ceremony and all festivals and all poojas..

    The same words in Tamil and telugu and hindi etc.. and all languages..

    When Indians clap or appreciate these division of languages.. davidian or hindi etc.. when people write those books etc.. and people read those books etc.. Nobody talks.. because.. Indians Give Respect to big people..

    If somebody feels that he is big and he writes some book and Indians will always respect that..

    That is how, Indians protected their language and culture for so many years..

    Marriages, death functions, and many more rituals etc.. same words through out India..

    When anybody becomes old.. they will try to live in temples and read same words..

    All these fighting between dravidian and Hindi had happened because some stupid politicians were humiliated based on those Stupid books .. and they took that humiliation seriously etc..

    The people who fight also.. just fought for language superiority and as the Fight happened..

    British and other western media thought that our classification is correct as they are fighting based on our books etc..

    But they do not know that.. every hindu.. in their important events.. uses same words. They will not care about Hindi or Tamil etc..

  27. How come that no matter if an Indian person speaks Hindi, Dravidian or English, they always sound _Indian_ though? Like, what are those features even that sound so distinctly Indian and how did they spread across those significant language barriers? (I mean, I know how hey spread to English, that part is hardly puzzling.)

  28. Urdu (mother tongue)
    English(at work)
    Arabic( can read only)
    Hindi( similar to Urdu while speaking)
    Kannada(while in Karnataka ,not fluent though)

  29. I'm from Wokha, Nagaland, Northeast India.
    1. Lotha is my mother tongue.
    2. I(everyone from Nagaland) speak Nagamese.
    3. I can speak, write and read English.
    4. I speak and understand Hindi.
    5. Understand a bit of Gujarati(through exposure)
    PS: The state of Nagaland itself have around (or more than) fifteen different "languages" which are not intelligible with each other. Each of them have different dialects.

  30. தெற்கு தேய்கிறது..வடக்கு வாழ்கிறது….
    As India was integrated with multiple states with different language , different culture, different food in each and every state as United in the name of India.
    Hindi is the language for only 3 to 4 states in India. Rest all other states in India has its own regional languages.
    In India, only we can say the common language is English.
    Why Hindi is imposed in non Hindi speaking states?
    For us Tamil and English is our language.
    We don't mind Hindi.
    Even Hindi people are proud in learning/ talking English only rather than Hindi.
    Mother and mother tongue is special for all.
    So for me Tamil is special…
    Like wise Malayalam
    Telugu are important in their states.
    So , we don't bother Hindi.. ..

  31. Am south indian
    I can speak
    Beary ( Mother tongue)
    Arabic ( not fluently)
    Konkni ( not fluently)

  32. Hey man correct the languages assigned to the numbers on the map. 22 is where Telugu is spoken and 21 is partly, only Hyderabad is Urdu spoken and the remaining is Telugu.

  33. THANKS for this awesome video!
    I’m German, and I lived in India as a child in the 1960s, 1961–’67 in Kerala, ’67–’68 in Maharashtra … I spoke/read/wrote Malayalam fluently but sadly had to leave at age of ten, never again had opportunity to speak M., so it’s now all buried somewhere in the back of my brains, inaccessible, sadly. Marathi I only learned a little. We also spoke English, but with my younger sister I used to speak more Malayalam than German, much to the chagrin of our parents 😂
    Anyway, I still hope to be able to return to the home of my heart and live to the end of my days in the lovely country of my childhood.

  34. Whose mother tongue was (is) Sanskrit?
    Was there any time that the Sanskrit was commonly spoken language in any region?

  35. Small correction here. India has recognized 23 official languages. Not Hindi and English only our official languages. All 23 languages(including English) are official and there is no concept of national language. Hindi language used in many states comparing to other languages.

  36. Tamil is the oldest language in the earth n I proudly say that I m tamilan. I can speak Tamil, malay n English. Can understand 50% of malayalam

  37. I'm just gonna say this. Google Deccani it's like a mix of all the indian and the historical influencing foreign languages.


    So I can speak like 17 languages, fluent in 9. And no they are not all Indian

  38. wth, you indian guys rock! I can't imagine a common italian guy being able to speak so many languages. Sometimes we have difficult also to speak italian ahah

  39. Iam from south mother tongue is Malayalam.I can speak Malayalam,Tamil ,and English.when I go to south Indian States I use English and Tamil (because all the South Indians know or they can understand Tamil.).when I go to north India and north East India I use English.

  40. You are right about the Indo European languages being Fusional. In Sanskrit for eg, there is this concept called Sandhi by which two words can be joined as one. This concept exists in Hindi too, since I learnt it in my school days, but is almost never used.

  41. Call Indians natural linguists 😉
    I can speak-

    Majority of ppl can converse in Hindi irrespective of the states they come from. If not Hindi then English or if the two know any common local language. With foreigners also most can communicate in English.

  42. South Indians second language is English. And also Hindi speaking people. Other Indians English is an third language but they good in English.

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