List of Indian languages by number of native speakers

India is home to several hundred languages. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-European (ca. 74%), the Dravidian (ca. 24%), the Austroasiatic (Munda) (ca. 1.2%), or the Tibeto-Burman (ca. 0.6%) families, with some languages of the Himalayas still unclassified.The SIL Ethnologue lists 415 living languages for India.


Hindi (Standard Hindi besides many dialects of varying mutual intelligibility) is the most widespread language of India. The Indian census takes the widest possible definition of "Hindi" as a broad variety of "Hindi languages". The native speakers of Hindi so defined accounts for 40% of Indians.

Indian English ranks as 40th as first language as per the census. English is the second "language of the Union" besides Hindi.

Twelve languages account for more than 1% of Indian population each, and between themselves for over 95% of Indians; all of them are "scheduled languages of the constitution".

Scheduled languages spoken by less than 1% of Indians are Santali (0.62%), Sindhi (0.25%), Nepali (0.25%), Manipuri (0.15%), Bodo (0.25%), Dogri (spoken in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir). The largest language that is not "scheduled" is Bhili (0.67%), followed by Gondi (0.25%), Tulu (0.19%) and Kurukh (0.17%).

Classical Languages of India are Tamil and Sanskrit

List by number of native speakers

Ordered by number of speakers as first language. Indian population in 1991 exhibited 19.4% of bilingualism and 7.2% of trilingualism, so that the total percentage of "native languages" is at about 127%.

Fewer than 100,000 speakers

The following are SIL Ethnologue estimates:

Fewer than 10,000 speakers

*Zome: 9,112
*Bondo: 9,000
*Khamti: 8,879
*Bhalay: 8,672
*Digaro-Mishmi: 8,622
*Paliyan: 8,615
*Holiya: 8,000
*Rongpo: 7,500
*Malankuravan: 7,339
*Mannan: 7,289
*Pao: 7,223
*Simte: 7,150
*Nagarchal: 7,090
*Chiru: 7,000
*Miju-Mishmi: 6,500
*Kinnauri, Harijan: 6,331
*Sanskrit: 6,106
*Turi: 6,054
*Darlong: 6,000
*Kinnauri, Bhoti: 6,000
*Kurumba, Mullu: 6,000
*Urali: 5,843
*Sulung: 5,443
*Chamari: 5,324
*Bhatola: 5,045
*Nicobarese, Southern: 5,045
*Aiton: 5,000
*Balochi, Eastern: 5,000
*Kom: 5,000
*Phake: 5,000
*Katkari: 4,951
*Maldivian: 4,500
*Chin, Bawm: 4,439
*Manda: 4,036
*Gahri: 4,000
*Hruso: 4,000
*Kupia: 4,000
*Sajalong: 4,000
*Naga, Moyon: 3,700
*Naga, Chothe: 3,600
*Thulung: 3,313
*Naga, Monsang: 3,200
*Malapandaram: 3,147
*Sherdukpen: 3,100
*Gata': 3,055
*Brokskat: 3,000
*Dzongkha: 3,000
*Koireng: 3,000
*Kurmukar: 3,000
*Naga, Puimei: 3,000
*Singpho: 3,000
*Zyphe: 3,000
*Rawat: 2,926
*Byangsi: 2,829
*Teressa: 2,767
*Aimol: 2,643
*Kurumba, Alu: 2,500
*Stod Bhoti: 2,500
*Kudiya: 2,462
*Bijori: 2,391
*Kadar: 2,265
*Nicobarese, Central: 2,200
*Shumcho: 2,174
*Darmiya: 2,027
*Chaura: 2,018
*Kota: 2,000
*Nihali: 2,000
*Tinani: 2,000
*Jangshung: 1,990
*Chaudangsi: 1,825
*Na: 1,500
*Kanashi: 1,400
*Naga, Kharam: 1,400
*Bellari: 1,352
*Khamba: 1,333
*Merwari: 1,312
*Mru: 1,231
*Kinnauri, Chitkuli: 1,060
*Bugun: 1,046
*Rangkas: 1,014
*Lohar, Gade: 1,009
*Phudagi: 1,009
*Lhomi: 1,000
*Lisu: 1,000
*Yakha: 1,000
*Naga, Tarao: 870
*Bateri: 800
*Parenga: 767
*Korlai Creole Portuguese: 750
*Lohar, Lahul: 750
*Tukpa: 723
*Indo-Portuguese: 700
*Toda: 600
*Sunam: 558
*Naga, Purum: 503
*Chinali: 500
*Varhadi-Nagpuri: 463
*Dhimal: 450
*Allar: 350
*Ralte: 303
*Jad: 300
*Jarawa: 300
*Koda: 300
*Zakhring: 300
*Majhi: 246
*Aranadan: 236
*Pankhu: 234
*Shom Peng: 223
*Vishavan: 150
*Hinduri: 138
*Nahari: 108
*Sentinel: 101
*Mugom: 100
*Önge: 96
*Gurung, Western: 82
*Godwari: 61
*Khamyang: 50
*Great Andamanese: 24
*Farsa: 2
*Kadubhashe: 1


* [ Data table of Census of India, 2001]
* [ Language Maps from Central Institute of Indian Languages]
* [ Census data on Languages]

See also

* Official languages of India
* Languages of India

External links

* [ Major Indian Languages]
* [ Ethnologue report]
* [ Central Institute of Indian Languages]

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