The languages that are included in the Eighth Schedule of
the Indian Constitution are referred as the Official Languages. The VIII
schedule originally contained 15 languages i.e. Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati,
Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi,
Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. By the 71st
Amendment of the Constitution, Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali have been added to
the Schedule in 1992.
The origin of Assamese dates back to the 13th century.
Assamese, together with Bengali and Oriya, form the easternmost group of the New
Indo-Aryan languages and they have been derived from
Magadhi Apabhramsa, the principal
dialect that developed for the Old Eastern Prakrit. The modern Assamese has
borrowed several words from Hindustani, Marathi, Gujarati, Arabic, Persian,
Portuguese, English and other European languages. Assamese is the state language
of Assam and is spoken by nearly 60% of the State's population. It is spoken by
13.07 million people in India i.e. by 1.55% of the total population.
one of the major Indo-Aryan languages of India and is the official language of
the state of West Bengal. It is
spoken by over 204 million people worldwide, but mainly in Bangladesh and India
(69 million). The beginnings of Bengali are traceable to the period 1000-1200 AD.
Caryapadas or Caryagitis
represent the earliest known specimens of Bengali, which were saturated with
Sanskrit and Avahattha forms and
idioms. During 1500-1800 AD, it
absorbed a large number of Persian, Arabic and Turkish words into its
Brajabuli was an early poetic form of Bengali.
more than 43 million people in India and also in several parts of the world like
United Kingdom; Fiji; Zimbabwe; Zambia; Uganda; Malawi; Kenya; Singapore;
Bangladesh, South Africa and Pakistan, Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language spoken
mainly in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. It is
the state language of Gujarat and is spoken by 40.67 million people in India,
about 4.81% of the total population of India and 70% of the State's population.
It is written in Gujarati script. Gujarati emerged as an independent
language around 1000 AD. Its basic vocabulary is derived from Sanskrit and Prakrit.
The oldest Gujarati works in the form of Prakrit are described as Sauraseni or
The modern Gujarati has incorporated several foreign words from languages
like Persian, Arabic, Portuguese and English.
Gujarati has several dialects like
Standard Gujarati (Saurashtra Standard, Nagari, Bombay Gujarati, Patnuli),
Gamadia (Gramya, Surati, Anawla, Brathela, Eastern Broach Gujarati, Charotari,
Patidari, Vadodari, Ahmedabad Gamadia, Patani), Parsi, Kathiyawadi (Jhalawadi,
Sorathi, Holadi, Gohilwadi, Bhawnagari),
Kharwa, Kakari and Tarimuki (Ghisadi).
the official language of the Republic of India and is spoken throughout the
Northern India. It is the State language of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Over 457 million
people speak Hindi globally, of which the Indian speakers constitute 337.27
million. Hindi uses the Devanagari
system of writing. The dialects of
Hindi are divided into the Western Hindi and Eastern Hindi groups.
Hindustani, Bangaru, Braj Bhasha, Kanauji, Khari-boli and
Bundeli are important dialects in the Western Hindi group, while
Awadhi is an important dialect of the
Eastern Hindi group. Hindi began to take definite shape around 10th
century AD. In its early period of evolution it was greatly influenced by a form
of Prakrit called Sauraseni Apabhramsa.
In the course of time it assimilated many words from Arabic, Persian,
English and other languages.
Kannada is the State language of Karnataka and is spoken
by 65% of the state's population. All over India it is spoken by 32.75 million
people, constituting 3.87% of the total population. Kannada is a highly
cultivated speech belonging to the Dravidian family of languages.
Its origin can be traced to the 9th century AD.
is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 55% of the population of the state of
Jammu and Kashmir. However, the
official language of the state is not Kashmiri but Urdu. It is written in both
Persio-Arabic and Devanagari scripts.
Bakawali, Bunjwali, Standard Kashmiri (Kashtawari),
Kishtwari, Miraski, Poguli, Rambani, Riasi, Shah-Mansuri, Siraji Of Doda, Siraji-Kashmiri,
Zayoli and Zirak-Boli are its
Konkani, principally based on classical Sanskrit, belongs
to the southwestern branch of Indo-Aryan languages. It is spoken in the Konkan
region covering Goa and parts of the coastal regions of Karnataka, Kerala and
Maharashtra. Konkani is the official language of the state of Goa. It is very
close to Marathi and Hindi. The origin
of Konkani language from the historic viewpoint is very interesting.
Konkani is believed to have originated from Shouraseni Prakrit
like the Assamese and Bengali. Hence some scholars regard Bengali or Assamese as
the mother of Konkani language. Other historians argue that it was the language
of Aryans who came further south to the Konkan, and hence the name Konkani.
Scholars like Katre, Dalgado, Kalelkar, Shenoy Goembab and Cunha-Rivara opine
that linguistically Konkani is an independent language, having more affinities
with Bengali, Hindi and Gujarati, than with Marathi. Konkani has also been
referred to as distinct in Suma Oriental (1513-1515), a travel account of the East including
India, by the Portuguese Tome Pires, soon after the conquest of Goa.
The first Konkani inscription was found in 1187 AD. The
Jnaneshwari was written in Konkani in 1209 AD and the Konkani Bible was
published in 1808 AD. Konkani has many dialects and there are different names for
the different dialects. In Vengulra, Sawantavadi, and Ratnagiri, it is mixed
with Marathi and is known as Malavani. People of Ratnagiri origin and
Konkan Brahmins speak Chitpawani that is influenced by Marathi. The
Konkani spoken by Goans is sometimes referred as Gomantaki. The Konkani
spoken by Nawayatis of Bhatkal is very melodious with smearing of
Persian. In south and north Kanaras,
Konkani language was influenced by Kannada, and in Kerala, the Malayalam words
were integrated to the language. People of South Kanara do not distinguish
between nouns of Kannada and Konkani, and sometimes add Tulu words to
Konkani. It has no script of its
own but is written in the script of other languages. Early adopters used the
Brahmi script, but eventually due to the local influence, Nagari (Devanagari)
was used for the benefit of much larger audience. But Kannada, Malayalam and
Roman scripts have also been used.
Although originally Konkani was the language of
Saraswat Brahmins, millions have adopted it as their mother tongue.
Sonar (Suvarnakar), Serugar, Mestri, Sutar,
Siddi, Gabeet, Kharvi,
Samgar and Nawayati are some of the communities who speak Konkani. It is
estimated that about 4 million people speak Konkani in India. Konkani was
declared as a National language in 1987.
is spoken by about 30.37 million people in India, which constitutes 3.59% of the
total population. It is the official language of the state of Kerala. Malayalam
emerged as an independent language around 10sup>th century AD.
It is the youngest of all the major Dravidian languages. Many scholars
believe that Malayalam was derived from Sanskrit. Others, though unsuccessfully,
tried to treat it as an offshoot of Tamil in the Middle period. It has several
dialects like Malabari, Nagari-Malayalam, South Kerala, Central Kerala, North Kerala,
Kayavar, Namboodiri, Moplah, Pulaya, Nasrani and Nayar.
or Meithei is the official language of the State of Manipur and is
spoken by about 1.27 million people.
It is the most important of the Tibeto-Burman languages and belongs to
the Kuki-Chin sub-group. It is
written in the Bengali-Assamese script.
The oldest Manipuri work is
Poireiton Khunthok, which dates back to the third century AD.
A great deal of literature has come up in modern Manipuri.
Loi, Pangal and
Bishnupuriya are its dialects.
belongs to the Indo-Aryan stock of languages. It is the official language of the
state of Maharashtra. It is spoken
by 62.48 million people in India, which constitutes about 7.38% of the total
population. Marathi is written in Devanagari script. The history of Marathi goes
back to about 1000 AD when a Marathi inscription dating 980 AD was found at the
foot of the huge monolithic statue of Gomateshwara in Mysore. Later inscriptions
such as the edict of King Aparaditya (1183 AD) and the Pandharpur inscription
(1273 AD) indicate the use of Old Marathi. Scholars differ about the origin of
Marathi. While some believe that it
originated from Sanskrit, others contend that it developed from a form of
Prakrit called the
Maharashtri Apabhramsa and a third group claims that Marathi is of
indigenous origin. Goanese, Varhadi,
Nagpuri, Ikran and Gowlan are some
of its common dialects.
Nepali is the official language of Nepal.
It is also one of the official languages of India.
It is spoken by nearly 16 million people, out of which 6 million reside
in India. In India, it is spoken in
parts of West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh. This Indo-Aryan
language has Gorkhali and
Palpa as its principal dialects.
Oriya is the official language of the state of
is spoken by over 87% of its population. It is spoken by about 28 million people
in India which is 3.32% of the total population. Oriya is also referred as
Utkali, Odri, Vadiya and
Yudhia. This Indo-Aryan language was derived from Magadhi Prakrit and its
modern form came into existence around the 10th century AD.
Mughalbandi, Southern Oriya, Bhatri, Sambalpuri, Halbi and
Koraput Oriya are its important dialects.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language that originated from
Apabhramsa of the region.
The characteristics of Sanskrit,
Prakrit and Apabhramsa can be
traced in Punjabi. Although based
on the Devanagari script, it is
written in a 16th century script called
Gurumukhi, created by the Sikh Guru Angad.
The language turned literary only around the 15th century.
Majhi, Doab, Bhatyiana, Powadhi,
Malwa, Rathi and Dogri are described as the dialects of Punjabi. Some scholars
consider Lahndi or
Lahnda as the language of Western
Punjab, as opposed to the Punjabi proper of the Eastern Punjab. Dr Mohan Singh
(1950) mentions that Paisaci, Bhaka, Bhut
Bhaka, Avahat and Jatki are the
other names of Punjabi. Punjabi is
spoken by 23.78 million people in India, which constitutes 2.76% of the total
population of the country.
Sanskrit is perhaps the oldest of the Indo-Aryan languages
and is the parent for many other languages in India. It is one of the National
languages of India. It is the
literary and liturgical language of India. Several valuable prose, poetry and
drama works have been written in Sanskrit. As per the 1991 census it is spoken
by about 49,736 people in India.
Sindhi belongs to the Northwest group of the Indo-Aryan
family. It is spoken mainly in India (2.1 million) and Pakistan. It is one of
the National languages of India. It
is generally accepted that Sindhi is of Sanskrit-Prakrit origin.
It has absorbed the characteristics of several different languages like
Baluchi, Brahui, Pashto, Kashmiri,
Multani, Bahawalpuri, Marwari and
Gujarati. Later, several Hindi, Arabic and Persian words have been added to
the vocabulary. In Pakistan, Sindhi is written in the Perso-Arabic script, while
in India it uses the Devanagari script In 1851, a committee appointed by Sir
Bartle Frere, the then Commissioner of Sind, recommended the use of an
artificially derived Arabic-Sindhi script, which is still in vogue today.
Bhatia, Jadeji, Kachchhi, Kayasthi,
Lari, Lasi, Thareli, Thari, Viccholi and
Visholi are the principal dialects of Sindhi.
the oldest of all the Dravidian languages (about 2000 years old) and is the
official language of the State of Tamil Nadu.
It is spoken by over 73 million people worldwide, of which 53 million are
in India. Besides India, Tamil is
spoken in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, Myanmar, South Africa and other
countries. Its literary history
dates back to 600 BC. Dialects: Adi
Dravida, Aiyar, Aiyangar, Arava, Burgandi, Kasuva, Kongar, Korava, Korchi,
Madrasi, Parikala, Pattapu Bhasha, Tamil, Sri Lanka Tamil, Malaya Tamil, Burma
Tamil, South Africa Tamil, Tigalu, Harijan, Sanketi, Hebbar, Mandyam Brahmin
and Secunderabad Brahmin. Kasuva
is a jungle tribal dialect. Aiyar and Aiyangar are Brahmin dialects.
popularly believed that the word telugu
and its older forms telungu and tenugu, were
derived from the word trilinga or trikalinga i.e. from
the three temples at Srisailam, Drakasharamam and Kaleshwaram. However, not many
scholars accept this view. Some consider that it is derived from the word
talaing. Marepalli Ramachandra Shastri
says " In Gondi language, unga is a
form for plural; telu means white.
Hence, telunga probably refers to
people who are white in complexion".
Another scholar Ganti Jogi Somayaji says that
ten refers to south in
Proto-Dravidian. Hence tenungu refers
also known as Andhra-bhasa or the
language of the Andhras, denoting
tribes found on the south of the Vindhya Mountains. During 220 AD the word
Andhrapathamu was used in the
inscriptions in Ballari district. The language spoken by
Andhras was given the name
Andhra Bhasha. Different tribes used to speak different dialects. The tribes
of Andhra such as Dravida, Yaksha and
"Telugu" or "Tenugu".
Andhras from North India used to speak another language called
During the first phase of the evolution of Telugu, we only come across
names of places and personal names of Telugu in
Prakrit and Sanskrit inscriptions
found in the Telugu country. Telugu was exposed to the influence of Prakrit as
early as the 3rd century BC. The Nagarjuna Hill inscriptions of 250 AD contain
some Telugu words. The first complete Telugu inscription belongs to the Renati
Cholas, found in Erragudipadu, Kamalapuram taluk of Cuddapah district and
assigned to about 575 AD. Telugu was exposed to the influence of Sanskrit about
this period. The modern standard Telugu that is in use today, thus, had its
beginnings in the spoken variety, right from the 10th century AD. The language
was progressively enriched by contact with Sanskrit, Prakrit, Urdu and English
from the ancient times.
the most widely spoken language of the Dravidian family. In India, Telugu is
spoken by over 66 million, which forms 7.8% of the total population of the
country. Globally, it is spoken by over 75 million people.
It has also spread to the other parts of the globe like Myanmar,
Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji South Africa and the USA.
Dialects: Berad, Dasari, Dommara, Golari, Kamathi, Komtao, Konda-Reddi, Salewari,
Telangana, Telugu, Vadaga, Vadari, Srikakula, Vishakapatnam, East
Godaveri,Rayalseema, Nellore and
Urdu is the state language of
Jammu and Kashmir, the second official language of Bihar and it also enjoys the
status of second language in a few districts of Andhra Pradesh in India. Urdu
evolved along with Hindi in the capital of India, Delhi. It is spoken by 43.5
million persons in India, which is 5.13% of the population. Urdu is the language
adopted by a considerable number of Muslims in India. It had its beginnings in
the 12th and the 13th centuries AD. It started first as a literary language of
the Deccan in the 15th and 16th centuries and then established itself as an
important language of northern India in the 18th century. Urdu, like Hindi,
originated from the Khari Boli speech
of Delhi and the surrounding areas. Urdu is written in the Persio-Arabic script
and contains many words from the Persian language. Urdu has been known by
different names at different points of time in different parts of India e.g.
Hindvi, Hindi, Dehlvi, Gujri, Zaban-e-Hindustan, Deccani, Rekhta, Zaban-e-Urdu-e-Mualla