The mother tongue in India varies depending on the region and state. Some commonly spoken mother tongues in different parts of India include Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Punjabi.
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In India, the concept of “mother tongue” is diverse and complex due to its vast cultural and linguistic diversity. India is a linguistically rich country, with a constitution that recognizes 22 officially recognized languages. These languages are classified into two major language families: Indo-Aryan and Dravidian.
Hindi, as the most widely spoken language, serves as a lingua franca in different parts of the country. It is primarily spoken in the northern and central regions of India. According to the 2011 Census of India, Hindi is the mother tongue of about 41% of the Indian population.
Bengali, spoken mainly in West Bengal and Bangladesh, is the second most widely spoken language in India. It is the mother tongue of approximately 8.1% of the Indian population. Telugu, predominantly spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is another major language with around 7.2% of the population considering it as their mother tongue.
Marathi, predominantly spoken in Maharashtra, is the fourth most widely spoken language in India, with approximately 7% of the population considering it as their mother tongue. Tamil, predominantly spoken in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, is considered the fifth most widely spoken language in India, with around 5.9% of the population identifying it as their mother tongue.
Urdu, a language with Persian and Arabic influence, is predominantly spoken by the Muslim community across India. It is the mother tongue of around 5% of the population. Gujarati, spoken in the western state of Gujarat, carries importance in business and trade. It is the mother tongue of approximately 4.5% of the Indian population.
Kannada, spoken mainly in Karnataka, and Punjabi, spoken primarily in Punjab, are also prominent mother tongues in India, with around 3.7% and 2.9% of the population respectively.
Here is a table showcasing the top ten mother tongues in India, based on the 2011 Census:
|Language||Percentage of Indian Population|
Now, let’s delve into some interesting facts about these mother tongues in India:
- Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is based on the Khari Boli dialect and has substantial Persian and Arabic loanwords.
- Bengali, known for its rich literature, is the only language in the world that has two Nobel laureates in literature—Rabindranath Tagore and Amartya Sen.
- Telugu is one of the classical languages of India, known for its ancient literature and poetry.
- Marathi, the official language of Maharashtra, is derived from Sanskrit and has a vast and diverse literary heritage.
- Tamil, one of the oldest languages in the world, has a rich classical tradition and is known for its unique script and grammar structure.
- Urdu, while predominantly associated with Pakistan, has a significant number of speakers in India and is widely used in Bollywood films and poetry.
- Gujarati, known for its vibrant folk music and dance forms, is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world.
- Kannada, apart from being spoken in Karnataka, is also used by the significant Kannada diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom, and Gulf countries.
- Punjabi, written in the Gurumukhi script, is known for its lively folk music genre, Bhangra.
- Odia, spoken in the coastal state of Odisha, has a rich tradition of art, dance, and literature.
In conclusion, India’s diverse linguistic landscape is a testament to the country’s cultural tapestry. As an expert in Indian languages and cultures, I find the multiplicity of mother tongues in India to be a testament to the rich heritage and diversity that exists within the nation.
Remember, as Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Embracing the mother tongues of India fosters inclusivity and strengthens cultural bonds within the diverse fabric of the nation.
See the answer to “What is our mother tongue in India?” in this video
The video discusses the Mother Tongue Survey of India, which aims to survey and preserve the mother tongues of India. The survey is conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs and focuses on languages that have consistently reoccurred in population census data. The linguistic data will be documented and preserved in audio and video formats for archiving purposes. The video emphasizes the significance of preserving linguistic diversity, as it is tied to cultural heritage and the transmission of knowledge across generations. It also mentions the importance of conserving cultural identity and provides information about the recognition of languages in the Constitution of India. The video concludes by mentioning initiatives taken by the government and Google to promote and preserve regional languages.
Here are some additional responses to your query
HindiHindi is the mother tongue of majority of Indian population but it’s not the official or the national language. Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu are also widely spoken in the country.
Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India, with 43.6 per cent of the populace declaring it their Mother Tongue.
As per an analysis of 2011 linguistic census data in 2018, more than 19,500 dialects are spoken in India as mother tongues. They are grouped into 121 mother tongues. According to the 2011 linguistic census, Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue, with 52.8 crore people or 43.6 per cent of the population declaring it as the mother tongue.
According to the 2011 linguistic census, Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue, with 52.8 crore people or 43.6 per cent of the population declaring it as the mother tongue. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
According to 2011linguistic census data, Hindi is the most spoken mother tongue by 52.8 crore people of the country, accounting for 43.6 per cent of the population. Following that, 9.7 crore people or 8 per cent of the population spoke Bengali, making it the country’s second most popular mother tongue.
Most of them speak Hindi which, along with its dialects and variations, is identified as a mother tongue spoken by 40% of India’s 1.3 billion people, mostly in the northern and central part of the country.
Only about 26% of Indians speak Hindi as mother tongue under the broader Hindi language grouping (according to Census 2011). Close to 40% of the Hindi language speakers speak mother tongues other than Hindi.