Indian Languages Families
In India, many major languages exist along with other minor languages usually spoken by a small number of people. The Indian languages can be divided into the following four families.
1. Indo-Aryan Speakers of languages from this family account for around 70% of the population of the country. Most of the languages in this family are derived from Sanskrit. Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Rajasthani, Assamese etc are part of the family.
2. Dravidian: This is the second biggest family of languages in India and consists of languages mostly spoken in southern India like Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. The Dravidian languages are older than the Indo-Aryan languages.
3. Austric: This is the oldest and most indigenous languages in the family of India. Its speakers are concentrated in the hilly and tribal areas of central and Eastern India. Santhali, Nicobarese, Khond etc are the example of languages from this family.
4. Sino-Indian: This include languages spoken in the North-East and northern parts of India. It includes Naga, Bodo, Tibetan, Ladakhi, karbi etc.
Apart from this, a fifth family of languages spoken in south Andaman is Ongan, which includes the two languages of Onge and Jarawa. Apart from them, the great Andamanese is another language family, which is almost extinct. The Nihali languages spoken by around 2000 people in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are an isolated language, not a part of any family. The Sidi language, spoken in Gujarat till the middle of the 20th century, is not extinct , and was derived from Swahili and also constituted a part of the Niger-Congo language family.
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