languages spoken by more than ten million people are given below. English is spoken as a second language by somewhere between 50 and 250 million Indians. This data has been extracted from the Ethnologue database. This list takes into account native speakers only. Most languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo-Aryan (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. English, introduced under the British Empire, plays an important role as a lingua franca not tied to a specific Indian ethnicity. Prior to colonization, Persian played an important role as a language of government, education and trade, due to its mandate by the Muslim rulers. It is still a classical language of study in many Indian schools. The official figure of 'mother tongues' spoken in India is 1,683, of which an estimated 850 are in daily use. The SIL Ethnologue lists 387 living languages for India.
Ordered by number of speakers as first language
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