Short answer is 22 total languages in India are recognized by Indian Constitution and there are total 31 number of languages in India have received the status of official languages. 880 total no of languages in India are spoken by people living in India.
Hindi is the official language of Indian Union.
Many believe that languages printed on Indian Rupee Notes are our national languages but the truth is India has no national language. The Indian Constitution does not give any language the status of National Language.
What is the national language of India? Answer: None. Question: What is the official language of India? Answer: Hindi in Devanagari script. Keep reading to know more surprising facts about the total Indian languages, they will amaze you.
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Total Number of Languages in India as on 2016
There are as many as 880 languages spoken across India. 31 languages have been adopted by different states and union territories giving them the status of official languages. However, there is no national language of India.
Shockingly, 22 languages recognized by the Indian Constitution are not official languages of India. This is also not true that India has its two official languages, Hindi and English. The official language of India is Hindi in its original Devanagari script. Constitution of India clearly sates that the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. It is also mentioned in Article 343 that English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union.
That means Hindi is the official language of the Republic of India and English will be used as associate/provisional language for all official purposes.
No of Indian languages with the status of official languages – The Indian Constitution does not specify official languages for 29 states and 7 union territories of India. Rather, each of them is free to adopt any language or more than one language as its official language(s) through legislation that is for the conduct of its official functions within its territory.
Also, the official language(s) should not be necessarily from the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Each state and union territory has been given the right to regulate its own official language in public administration, and in general, neither the constitution and nor any central regulation imposes any restriction on this right. However, Indian states and union territories have less freedom to determine the language in which judicial proceedings will be conducted in their respective High Courts.
How Many Official Languages are There in India
Hindi is the official language of the Union of India and there are total 31 number of Indian languages which have been given the status of official languages within their respective states.
21 languages have been adopted by different states and union territories for their official purposes and 10 additional languages have been retained by the State Sikkim for the purpose of preservation of culture and tradition in the state.
- List of 22 Scheduled Languages
- List of 21 Official Languages
- List of 10 Additional Official Languages (Sikkim)
- State-wise List of Official Languages
Fun Facts about Official Language
- Hindi and English have maximum number of states with their status of official languages. Both have 16 states but the states are not same.
- Third language with its official status in most number of states is Urdu (in 8 states).
- Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand are the four states where Hindi is the only official language.
- Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are the two states where English is the only official language.
- Union Territory of Chandigarh has English as its only official language. Surprisingly, Chandigarh is the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana (Punjabi is official language in both states).
- Jammu and Kashmir is one state where Urdu is the only official language.
- Nepali is the official language of South Asian country Nepal. However, Nepali language has an official status in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is recognised as official language in Darjeeling and Kurseon sub-divisions of the district of Darjeeling (but not the rest of the district).
In addition to states and union territories, there are some autonomous administrative regions in India which elected their own official language. Examples: The Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam has declared the Bodo language as official language for the region and Bengali in the Barak Valley region.
What is Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India
Total Languages in India by Constitution: The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India lists 22 regional languages of India. If a provision or directive in Indian Constitution refers to the Eighth Schedule, all the languages in the list are constrained to that directive. In other words, languages listed under Eighth Schedule have special place in Indian Constitution. At the time the Constitution was enacted, Article 344 of the constitution enjoined the President to appoint a Commission on Official Language which should consist of a Chairman and other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule. The languages are popularly known as scheduled languages.
Significance: According to Articles 344 and 351, Scheduled Languages are to be used to enrich HINDI via Official Language Commissions appointed every decade which should comprise a Chairman and other members (experts of these languages).
The list has since, acquired further significance. It is necessary in the interest of educational and cultural advancement of the country that measures should be taken for the full development of these languages. In addition, the paper on an Indian language to be selected by the candidate appearing in an examination conducted for public services should be one from the Languages included in the Eighth Scheduled to the Constitution.
The table below lists the 22 languages set out in the Eighth Schedule as of May 2008. Scripts to be used by the appearing candidates for the Language papers, are also listed in adjoining column –
List of 22 Scheduled Languages (Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India)
|No.||Language||Script for Language Paper|
|18||Santhali||Devanagari or Olchiki|
|19||Sindhi||Devanagari or Arabic|
India Total Languages
Question: How many languages are there in India?
Answer: There are as many as 880 languages spoken across India. 29 are the major languages, each of which have more than 1 million speakers in India.
How Many Total Languages in India: The exact figure to define the total no of languages spoken in India is not available due to the richness of native Indian languages and their variants, contradictions in language surveys and human’s inability to identify the difference between Indian languages and Indian dialects. The lack of correct data on Indian languages that are disappearing or dying, is also a consequential factor. However, given below are some important facts that you should know –
- The Census of India 1961 identified 1,652 “mother tongues” or languages being used in India.
- The Census of India 1971 documented only 108 languages due to the central government’s decision to exclude languages spoken by less than 10,000 people. All other languages were included in the ‘Others‘ section.
- The Census of India 1991 identified 1,576 “mother tongues” with separate grammatical structures.
- The Census of India 2001 identified 1,721 languages in India. Out of which 122 are major languages belonging to the majority of the people in India and other 1,599 languages belonging to smaller societies, local groups, tribes and interior areas.
- The major 122 languages have more than 10,000 native speakers. Out of which, 29 languages have more than 1 million native speakers.
- The Census of India 2011 also found that there are about 122 languages spoken by more than 10,000 people.
PLSI or the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, launched in 2010, was conducted by 3500 volunteers including language experts, historians and the staff of Bhasha Research and Publication Centre (Vadodara). Findings of PLSI –
- The country had 1,100 languages in 1961. The Census of India 1961 recorded 1,652 languages because 552 variants of other languages had found a place in the list.
- Nearly 220 of 1,100 languages have disappeared while 880 languages are still in use.
- The PLSI has found 780 languages and was unable to collect data on almost 100 languages. That made it (total number of languages spoken in India) close to 880 languages.
- Arunachal Pradesh is the richest among states with 90 languages. It has the highest number of languages.
- Over the past 50 years, India has lost about 250 languages.
More Information on PLSI: Total how many languages in India
List of 29 Languages with More Than 1 Million Native Speakers (2001 Data)
Sanskrit is the only language from the Eighth Schedule which is not listed/has less than 1 million native speakers.
|No||Language||Speaking Population||Major State|
|1||Hindi||422, 048, 642||Uttar Pradesh|
|2||Bengali||83, 369, 769||West Bengal|
|3||Telugu||74, 002, 856||Andhra Pradesh|
|4||Marathi||71, 936, 894||Maharashtra|
|5||Tamil||60, 793, 814||Tamil Nadu|
|6||Urdu||51, 536, 111||Uttar Pradesh|
|7||Gujarati||46, 091, 617||Gujarat|
|8||Kannada||37, 924, 011||Karnataka|
|9||Malayalam||33, 066, 392||Kerala|
|10||Odia||33, 017, 446||Odisha|
|11||Punjabi||29, 102, 477||Punjab|
|12||Assamese||13, 168, 484||Assam|
|13||Maithili||12, 179, 122||Bihar|
|14||Bhili||9, 582, 957||Rajasthan|
|15||Santhali||6, 469, 600||Jharkhand|
|16||Kashmiri||5, 527, 698||Jammu and Kashmir|
|17||Nepali||2, 871, 749||West Bengal|
|18||Gondi||2, 713, 790||Madhya Pradesh|
|19||Sindhi||2, 535, 485||Gujarat|
|20||Konkani||2, 489, 015||Goa|
|21||Dogri||2, 282, 589||Jammu and Kashmir|
|22||Khandeshi||2, 075, 258||Maharashtra|
|23||Kurukh||1, 751, 489||Odisha|
|24||Tulu||1, 722, 768||Karnataka|
|25||Manipuri||1, 466, 705||Manipur|
|26||Bodo||1, 350, 478||Assam|
|27||Khasi||1, 128, 575||Meghalaya|
|28||Mundari||1, 061, 352||Jharkhand|
|29||Ho||1, 042, 724||Jharkhand|
List of 21 Official Languages to be Used within Their Respective States/Union Territory for Official Purposes
|No.||Official Language||Respective State(s)|
Daman and Diu
|5||Gujarati||Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Daman and Diu
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Daman and Diu
NCT of Delhi
|13||Marathi||Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Jammu and Kashmir
NCT of Delhi
List of 10 Additional Official Languages of the State Sikkim for the Preservation of Culture and Tradition
State-wise List of Official Languages: 29 States, 7 Union Territories and 31 Languages
|State/Union Territory||Official Language(s)||Additional / Secondary
|Goa||Konkani in Devnagari script||Marathi|
|Jammu and Kashmir||Urdu||—|
|Odisha||Odia (or Oriya)||—|
|Punjab||Punjabi in Gurumukhi Script||—|
Odia (or Oriya)
|Andaman & Nicobar Islands||Hindi|
|Dadra and Nagar Haveli||Hindi|
|Daman and Diu||Gujarati||Hindi
|NCT of Delhi||Hindi||Punjabi