Top 10 Most Spoken Languages in India

Do you know what are the top 10 most spoken languages in India? Well, if not, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, we’ve listed the most commonly spoken languages in …

Do you know what are the top 10 most spoken languages in India? Well, if not, then you have landed at the right place. In this article, we’ve listed the most commonly spoken languages in India.

The Republic of India has the second-highest population in the world. There are more than 1.35 billion people living in this 1,27 million square miles (3.29 million square km) landmass. Known for its diverse culture, there are numerous languages or dialects spoken throughout the country. 

Top 10 Most Spoken Languages in India

Technically, India has 22 official languages which are recognized at a regional level and within the Constitution of India.

Out of those 22 official languages, these are the most spoken ones.

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10. Odia

Spoken in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, by the Bay of Bengal, odia constitutes to about 3% of India’s total population. With an approximate of 37.5 million native speakers, Odia is among the most spoken languages in India. The language can also be heard in some areas of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Like many predominant languages of India, Odia is also an Indo Aryan language.

9. Kannada

Kannada is designated as one of India’s classical languages and is predominantly spoken in Karnataka in Southwestern India as well as in some parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Goa. A total of 4% of India’s population speak Kannada language which accounts for an estimated 55 million people.

8. Urdu

Urdu happens to be the eight-most widely spoken language of India. With an estimated number of 50.7 million native speakers in India, the language is primarily found in the states of Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as in Delhi. Urdu is also the persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. Further, the language traces its origin from the Indo Aryan Central languages.

7. Gujarati

Gujarati is the official language of Gujarat constituting 3% of India’s total population. There are around 55 million who consider Gujarati as their official language. It stemmed from the Dravidian civilization and is primarily spoken in states like Dadra and Nagar Haveli as well as Daman and Diu apart from Gujarat.

6. Tamil

Tamil is said to have originated from the Dravidian civilization and is the sixth most spoken language of India. A total of 6% of the population of India represents people speaking this language. It is primarily spoken in the state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. The first literature in tamil appeared in about 300 CE whereas the earliest-known transcriptions were said to appear in 500 BCE.

5. Telugu

Telugu is the fifth-most spoken language in India constituting about 7% of its entire population. The states that predominantly speak the language include Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Andaman. However, Telugu can also be heard in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, and Odisha. The language is said to be made by Renati Cholas who used to write royal proclamations in telugu instead of Sanskrit.

4. Marathi

Marathi is spoken by about 6.83% of the entire population of India and is the official language of in the western regions of the country including states like Goa and Maharashtra. It is made of over 42 regional dialects and is descended from Sanskrit. Marathi is also predominantly spoken in Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Further, Marathi language finds its roots in Indian languages like Konkani, Goanese, Deccan, Gowlan, Ikrani, and Varhadi-Nagpuri.

3. Bengali

The third-most spoken language in India is Bengali, which represents 8% of the total population of India. It is the official language of Bangladesh but is also spoken in states like West Bengal, lower Assam and Tripura. The language is said to evolve from Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit which are further influenced from languages like Persian, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English. Bengali is also the fifth most widely-used writing system in the world. 

2. English

India had been under the British colonization for several hundreds of years, that’s the reason why the language is still prevalent in the country. Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai among various other cities are the places where English is widely spoken. It is less so common in rural and Northern areas where Hindi and other local dialects are mostly preferred. Further, English is considered to be the associate official language and is the second language for those who can speak more than one language in India.

1. Hindi

Hindi, the official language of India, is the first most spoken language in the country. It is also the fourth most common language in the world after Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and English. Hindi is spoken by about 41% of India’s total population and is said to be influenced by several languages, including Dravidian tongues, Arabic, Portuguese, English, Persian, and Turkic over the centuries. Hindi that originated from Indo Aryan Central languages is spoken nearly in every state in India. 

FAQs

What is the most spoken language in India?

The official language of India – Hindi is the most spoken language of the country.

Which language is oldest in India?

Dating its earliest writing back to 2000 BC, Sanskrit is considered to be the ancient language of India.

Which is the toughest language in India?

Malayalam is considered to be the toughest language in India. Not only is the language difficult to learn but is also tough to articulate as compared to other languages in India. 

How many languages are spoken in India in total?

A total of 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken in India, as per the analysis of Census 2011. 

Conclusion

India is a country with rich linguistic heritage and that it is indeed a great source of study for those interested in learning new languages. Around 70 mother tongues with 10,000 or more speakers each were identified under the 2011 Census. Apart from these 10 predominant  languages, all the other languages constitute less than 4% of the country’s population.

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What is your native language? Which language would you rather learn apart from your regional language? Tell us in the comment section below.