International Mother Language Day 2022: A look at mother tongues spoken in India

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International Mother Language Day is observed globally on 21 February to recognize and promote multilingual diversity. This day also aims to preserve and transmit traditional knowledge and cultures through multilingual societies. The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 1999 and the day has been observed across the world since 2000.

Each year, this day is celebrated through a specific theme. This year’s theme is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and Opportunities” and will highlight the potential role of technology in advancing multilingual education.

Mother Tongues in India

According to a census conducted by the Government of India in 2011, there are a total of 121 languages and 270 mother tongues spoken in India. This data was derived after an inventory of classified mother tongues returned by 10,000 or more speakers was grouped under appropriate languages at the all-India level.

The census data provides an abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues and is divided into two parts. Part A consists of 22 languages which are specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. Part B consists of those languages which are not mentioned in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Furthermore, mother tongues of each language is then listed in the data.

A total of 123 mother tongues are there in the scheduled languages category and 147 mother tongues are grouped under non-scheduled languages.

Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Awadhi, Hindi, Rajasthani, Haryanvi, Kannada, Konkani, Manipuri, Odia, Malayalam, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Sindhi, Urdu and Telugu are some widely known mother tongues and are also specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

Other scheduled mother tongues include, Marathi, Garhwali, Chhattisgarhi, Maithili, Marwari, Dogri, Pahari, Sambalpuri and Bhojpuri.

The non-scheduled mother tongue category includes Afghani, Arabic, English, Baori, Khariya, Kinnauri, Tulu, Sherpa, Mao, Monpa and Gujari among others.

As per India Today, from the total languages listed by the Government of India in the census, 96.71 percent people have one of the scheduled languages as their mother tongue and 3.29 percent of Indian people speak mother tongues listed under the non-scheduled language category.

 

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International Mother Language Day 2022: A look at mother tongues spoken in India
International Mother Language Day 2022: A look at mother tongues spoken in India
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