India is among the topmost populated countries in the world with an estimated 1.3 billion people and it is home to multiple languages. With such a large population you might wonder, what language do Indians speak? Or how many languages are spoken in India?
Well, to answer this query, India has over 19,000 dialects but the government considers the major languages spoken to be 122.
Those engaging in business or personal interests in the country need to know at least 10 of these 122 languages for easier maneuverability especially when handling serious things like legal documents. In the view that the major languages are too many to master, language translation services are crucial.
Below are ten of the major languages in India that you can get certified translations to:
1. Most popular-Hindi
The number of people speaking Hindi in the country is estimated at over a 500 million people and those are only native speakers. This Indo-Aryan dialect is the most common language in India and the number is rising according to government-conducted censuses.
Hindi is also among the most spoken languages in the world ranking third overall after Mandarin and English. The language has 48 dialects under its wing and it is the official language in nine Indian states including Haryana, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan, among others.
This Eastern Indo-Aryan language is the second most spoken language after Hindi with over 200 million native speakers. Mostly prevalent in South Asia, the language is the official national language of Bangladesh and it has been influenced by other languages like Arabic, French, and Persian, among others.
Even though it is not the main language in India, it holds a top spot in the number of languages in India with many speakers. Bengali is not only common in South Asia but in other countries like Australia, the Middle East, Canada, the US, Japan, and many more.
Another widely spoken Indo-Aryan language in India is Marathi with an estimated 80million+ speakers. This language has two dialects and ranks among the top 15 most spoken languages in the world. Marathi is an old native language of India with literature dating back as far as 600AD and it is the official language of Maharashtra.
This language is unique because it presents three genders in its grammatical structure and it has about 42 recognized dialects depending on the region.
According to statistical data, Telugu had over 80 million speakers in 2011 but the numbers rose with the growing population. This Dravidian language is prevalent in Yanam, Andhra Pradesh, and the Telangana states with old roots dating back to 400BCE. Prakrit Inscriptions prove that this language has been around for decades due to archaeological evidence found in Bhattiprolu, Andhra Pradesh state.
Ranking fourth as the most spoken language in India, people celebrate Telugu Language Day annually every 29th of August.
When you ask “what language is spoken in India?”, some people will come up with Tamil. Tamil is one of the most ancient languages in India with written evidence to prove it. Tamil, another Dravidian language, has around 77millions speakers worldwide. Tamil is recognized as a major language in India and it is the official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Tamil is mostly confused with Sanskrit when people think of the oldest language in the world but there is evidence pointing strongly at Tamil being the oldest language thanks to archaeological findings. This language is spoken by people residing on the coast of Sri Lanka and South India.
Native to the Gujarati people is yet another Dravidian language, named after its people. Gujarat is a state in India known for having among the largest coastlines in the country and a thriving diamond refining center.
With over 50 million speakers, Gujarati stemmed from Sanskrit and it is above 30 of the most spoken languages globally. It is recognized by the South African government as one of its protected minority languages.
When one asks “what language do they speak in India?”, Urdu has to be on the top ten list. This language has about 68 million first-language speakers in India and it is native to Pakistan. It is also the official language for states like Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Telangana, among others. Urdu speakers in Pakistan tweaked the language to suit their culture; hence, natives can easily tell the difference between Indian and Pakistani Urdu speakers.
Kannada is a language spoken in India’s southwest region of Karnataka. This language has over 40 million native speakers in India but it is also present in other countries like Canada, Australia, and the US. The Dravidian language has 20 dialects under its umbrella and 1000-years in literary history to prove its authenticity.
Prevalent in Odisha state, Odia is a native Indian language with an estimated 35 million speakers. The Indo-Aryan language is the official language in the Odisha area and the government recognizes it as the 6th classical language in the country. It has a long literary history and it did not borrow much from other languages even though it can trace its origins to the 10th century CE.
Malayalam is a classic language in India recognized by the government in 2013. This language which is similar to Tamil has historical evidence that goes back to 832 AD. It has an approximated 33 million speakers and possesses influence from other languages like Portuguese, Arabic, and Dutch that was brought forth by colonization.
Translating these Languages in the 21st century
India is a very diverse country and to understand some of the languages in the perfect context, you need language translation services at your beck and call. You can process legal documents in the primary language of India to your native language within a matter of hours through document translation services online.
Next time someone asks “what language do people from India Speak?” mention all the languages listed above with pride. Admittedly, there are many more languages used in India, but knowing some is better than knowing none. Research more on the main languages in India and be astonished at how rich the Indian culture really is.