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Which Indian Language??

Travel Forums Asia Which Indian Language??

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1. Posted by Buttfish (Respected Member 298 posts) 10y

Hi all,

I was thinking about starting my slow trek into learning an Indian language. Now...considering there's...what, 200 (?) Indian languages alone, plus dialects....It's a bit of a hard choice to make. My intention is not to learn the language for a specific part of India, but one that would help the most in all of India.

From what I've read and heard so far, I was thinking about Punjabi (of some sort), or Hindi (I think khariboli, right?), as they're used the most (as far as I know).

I'm trying to figure out which is most used and helpful to people living in India.

I'm also attempting to figure out which would be closer to the root of the Indian..language? culture? history?--for which I think I'm wrong to try, as I have a feeling there's a lot of life in all those languages, and it's impossible to pick out they all have it. So...disregard this paragraph?

I had little education about India in general (only a little in secondary school), let alone the languages spoken. Sometimes I think our education system is really skipping large stones when it comes to spreading knowledge...argh.

So...anyone have any insights?? It would be much appreciated!!



2. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 10y

Hi Kat,

I think the following articles could help you decide which Indian language to learn.

Wikipedia - Languages of India
Wikipedia - Official languages of India
Wikipedia - List of Indian languages by total speakers

3. Posted by Ahila (Inactive 1529 posts) 10y

There needn't really be a dilemma for you, if you want to learn one Indian language that you can use across India. Learn Hindi, the primary official language, that almost every Indian speaks. The accents can vary across regions, but it's the same for all languages across the world. You will find the same language being spoken differently in different parts of the country.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 30, 2007, at 12:47 AM by Ahila ]

4. Posted by alemaari (Budding Member 10 posts) 10y

Hindi is indeed the best choice. It will help in almost all the states, except Tamil Nadu in South India.

5. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 10y


6. Posted by citybell (Full Member 419 posts) 10y

Only one language is used all over India and that's ENGLISH and no other language.
If atall you are keen to learn then it is better to learn one north Indian and one south indian language.
I think you will be better off. as a tourist, with English.

7. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 10y

Its clear; learn English

8. Posted by vikramdas (Budding Member 16 posts) 10y

Nowadays a lot of youth are migrating from North to South India to cities like Bangalore, cities which offer better job prospects.. with them they've brought Hindi to that region. If you would have visited the southern states in India a couple of years back, a knowledge of Hindi would not have helped much.. but nowadays things have changed..

So Hindi it has to be..

9. Posted by Ahila (Inactive 1529 posts) 10y

Personally, I would say... Learn 'Tamil'... It is one of the oldest living language in the world, like Arabic but outside of Tamil Nadu, it wouldn't help you much, so learn 'Hindi', after 'English'...

10. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Kat

I think Hindi may be the most commonly used Indian language.