India languages and dialects

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India is a mysterious country. Therefore, foreigners have a lot of questions about this. What language is spoken in India? Is there a single Indian language? Is there a map of Indian languages?

If you find yourself in India, the first place you set foot on this Holy Land will likely be the airport. And you will immediately hear that the Hindus, so similar in appearance, speak to each other in English. They do not have time to figure out who is from where — probably the interlocutor is from another country, which means that they speak different languages and will not understand each other.

This is natural because, in addition to the two official languages, Hindi and English, 22 languages are recognized in India. And this is not counting dialects and dialects — so there are more than 440 living languages of India!

Some interesting numbers for statistics

Linguists have established that the Indian language has more than 2 thousand dialects. Schools in India offer instruction in 58 languages. Newspapers are published in 87 languages. The films are released on September 15.

The Indian language is divided into 4 groups according to geographical distribution:

Indo-European family (North, West, Center);
Dravidian family (South, Center);
Austro-Asian family (East);
The Tibetan-Burmese family (the North).
They are arranged in descending order by the number of people who speak these languages. Thus, Indo-European languages make up more than 70% of the languages of India, and Tibetan-Burmese – no more than 0.5%.

It is said that the Himalayas use additional different dialects and dialects that are simply not followed by anyone.

India’s official language, Hindi, is the 5th largest in the world. It was overtaken by Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and, of course, English. Which, in turn, is also the official language of India.

Each of the States of India has its language:

Hindi (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh);
Punjabi (Punjab);
Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir);
Marathi (Maharashtra);
Urdu (Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh);
Maithili (Bihar);
Konkani (Goa);
Kannada (Karnataka);
Tamul (Tamil Nadu);
Malayalam (Kerala);
Oriya (Orissa);
Gujarati (Gujarat);
Sindhi (Gujarat);
Telugu (Andhra Pradesh);
Nepali (Sikkim);
Assamese Language (Assam);
Bengali (Bengal);
Tripura (Tripura);
ADI (Arunachal Pradesh);
MIZO (Mizoram);
Manipuri (Manipur);
Angami (Nagaland).

Sanskrit
What is this language that everyone has heard of but no one speaks? The fact is that Sanskrit is an ancient language of India. It has been used at least since antiquity, i.e. in the first century BC and earlier, but now it is only a cultural heritage.

Sanskrit was common among the elite and upper classes, used for writing sacred religious texts, hymns, treatises, etc. The Upanishads and Rigveda are written in the Vedic language of India, the oldest form of Sanskrit.

Interestingly, Sanskrit did not have its own original written language — information was transmitted, for the most part, orally, and if you needed to write something down, you used the writing of existing languages, such as Brahmi, Devanagari, or haroset.

Later, Sanskrit turned from Vedic to epic. The legendary Ramayana and Mahabharata were written on it.

Patanjali turned epic Sanskrit into classical Sanskrit, and that was the end of his modifications. After the arrival of the Christian era, Sanskrit was not used in its natural form and remained only a formality for worship.

Today, scholars equate Sanskrit with Latin and consider it “dead”.

You won’t need a phrasebook!

Although there are more than 400 languages in India, a very large proportion of Hindus speak English. Indeed, their accent is peculiar and difficult to understand at first. However, the style of communication of Hindus is logical — they reduce all parts of speech to the maximum, just to convey the essence to the interlocutor. There are many jokes that there is English, but only Indian English is spoken in India.

Instead of asking, “would you like some tea?” the Hindu will ask, “tea?” or even like this: “tea? Instead of ” do you need a place to stay?” or “are you looking for a hotel?”, it will just say “room”. And everything will be clear!

If you are traveling in India, visiting popular tourist cities or points, visiting Indian shops and hotels, you should remember or learn basic English expressions. You will need them very much.

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