Language is one of the most important forms of communication. It is one of the few things that connect and unites people. India is one of the most diverse countries in the world and has thousands of languages. Although India is a very cohesive country, there have been language debates.
According to the present data, 121 languages are spoken by more than 10,000 people in the country. According to 2011 census data, India has a population of more than 121 crores. Moreover, 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken as mother tongue.
Here are the top 10 languages spoken in the country:
Hindi- 52.83 crore speakers
Being one of the official languages of the country, Hindi is widely spoken in the northern belt. According to the 2011 census, Hindi is spoken by 43.63% of the country against the 41.03% which was recorded in the 2001 census. Hindi was influenced by several languages including Arabic, Portuguese, English, and Persian among others.
Bengali- 9.72 crore speakers
India’s second most spoken language is Bengali. Nearly 9.72 crores or 8.03% of citizens speak Bengali. It is a prominent language in several states such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam and Tripura among others. It is also widely spoken in the Middle East, the US and Australia among others. The Indian National Anthem was written in Bengali as well.
Marathi- 8.3 crore speakers
6.86% or 8.3 crore of the total population in the country speaks Marathi. It is mostly spoken in Maharashtra, Goa and Northern Karnataka. There are 42 different dialects of the language and the grammar has three genders.
Telegu- 8.11 crore speakers
Telegu is one of the many Dravidian languages spoken in the country. The language is spoken in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Telegu has several dialects such as Beraad, Wadaga, Domara, Salavatri, Nellore and Comtao among others. It is spoken in Australia, UAE, South Africa and the US.
Tamil- 6.9 crore speakers
Being one of the oldest languages to survive, Tamil is widely spoken in the country with 6.9 crore Tamil speakers. Tamil is also the official language of Singapore and Sri Lanka. Tamil has survived for more than 2000 years and apart from Tamil Nadu, it is spoken in Northern Sri Lanka.
Gujarati- 5.54 crore speakers
Evolved from Sanskrit, it is one of the most widely spoken in the country. Nearly 5.54 crore speakers speak the language. It is mostly spoken in Gujarat and is the state’s official language.
Urdu- 5.07 crore speakers
According to the 2011 census, there are 5.07 crore Urdu speakers in the country and is one of the official languages of the country. Moreover, it is the official language of Pakistan. Being one of the widely spoken languages, it is the official language in West Bengal, Bihar, UP and Jammu and Kashmir among others.
Kannada- 4.37 crore speakers
Like Tamil and Telegu, Kannada is also a Dravidian language. Being one of the oldest surviving languages, it is spoken by 4.37 crore people in the country. The language has 20 dialects and is spoken widely in Australia and Canada.
Odia- 3.75 crore speakers
Spoken by 3.75 speakers across the country, Odia is one of the official languages of the country and the speakers are based in Odisha.
Malayalam- 3.48 crore speakers
Being one of the widely spoken Dravidian languages, Malayalam is spoken in Kerala, Puducherry and Lakshadweep. It has nearly 3.48 crore speakers in the country.
References: Jagran Josh