The Indian subcontinent is made up of large numbers of separate linguistic communities. Indian diversity is truly reflected through languages and dialects spoken in different parts of the country. Indian languages have long literary history and tradition. For instance, Sanskrit is the one of the most ancient language of the world and has given birth to many other varieties of languages. Similarly, Tamil is an ancient language. India has no less than 22 officially recognized languages apart from several other languages and almost 2000 dialects. Very few countries in the world can boast of such rich diversity of languages.
The official language of India is Hindi, in the Devanagari script whereas English is an associate official language. Sanskrit is considered as the classical language of India. Most of the classical Indian literatures and epics have been written in Sanskrit. Hindi and Urdu languages are based on Sanskrit. Hindi is a popular language spoken in many parts of the country but Southern part mostly uses languages like Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam for communication. Official languages of India are also known as Scheduled Languages.
The essence of great Indian literature is homogeneous culture of languages, though they are quite distinctive in parts. Myriad dialects have kept evolving through the course of Indian history. Many languages in India are also called as tribal or aboriginal; however the percentage of people speaking these languages can outnumber many European languages. Examples include Santali and Bhili which are tribal languages but spoken by millions of people.
Indian languages are classified in four different language families. These are Dravidian, Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan and Mon-Khmer. Majority of India speaks Dravidian and Indo-European languages. This classification is based on geographical groups. For example, Dravidian language is primarily spoken in Southern India whereas Indo-European languages are main mode of communication in northern and central regions of the country. There are approximately 20 Dravidian languages, 54 Indo-European languages, 98 Sino-Tibetan languages and 20 Mon-Khmer languages.
Major languages of India are;
Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kashmiri, Konkani, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Urdu, Santali, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Manipuri and Punjabi.