India – A country with over 22 languages!

India – A country with over 22 languages!

What are the 22 official languages in India?

India has 22 official languages, namely Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

There are also hundreds of other less prominent languages like Tulu, Bhojpuri and Ladakhi that are the main spoken language of some places.

What are the main official languages in India?

There are two official languages of India, namely, Hindi in Devanagari script and English in Roman script.

Hindi

Hindi, natively spoken by 41% of the population, is the primary tongue of the people from the “Hindi Belt”(including the capital, Delhi) in Northern India. Many more people speak it as a second language.

In addition, it is the main working language of the Central Government, and often serves as a common language among Indians with different native languages. If you can afford only one phrasebook, pick up the Hindi one as it will allow you to get by in most of India.

The main exceptions are Tamil Nadu and the Northeast. Avoid speaking Hindi in these places, as the language is often met with varying degrees of hostility from the locals.

However, if possible, you are better off picking up as many words of the local language of the place you are going to – people are proud of their culture and language and will appreciate it if an outsider makes an attempt to communicate in it.

Learn a few basics before you go with a Learn to Speak Hindi book. Or check out the courses to learn Hindi on Udemy.

Generally speaking, most official signs are trilingual in the local language (if not Hindi), Hindi and English, with the exception of Tamil Nadu where they are bilingual in Tamil and English.

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