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There is a common phrase said about India, "There are as many languages, as many people are there in India.

India - Language and Literature - Regional Languages and Literatures

Regional Languages and Literatures


With the Aryans came their language Sanskrit, a member of the large Indo-European family of languages. All the major north Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and others are spin-offs of Sanskrit and are thus called the Indic or Indo-Aryan languages.
The Dravidian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada - are native to southern India, and have also been influenced by Sanskrit and Hindi over the years.


¤ The Similarity Between The Languages

The origins of the languages of Central Asia, Europe and India seem to have been similar thousands of years ago. Perhaps it was because the Aryans migrated from their lands, taking their language with them. Hence the similarity between certain words of Indic (Indo-Aryan) languages and other Indo-European languages. Like the words matri (Sanskrit) and mater (English) meaning mother, salaam (Urdu) and shalom (Israeli) meaning greetings, shukriya (Urdu) and shukrant (Sudanese) meaning thank you, chai (Hindi) and tchai (Greek) meaning tea, almari (Hindi) and almirah (Portugese) meaning cupboard, luft hansa (Sanskrit) and Lufthansa (German) meaning air bird, and so on.


¤ Other Sources of Origin of Indian Languages

But the story of the origins of our 1652 languages doesn’t end there. There are two other sources of language in India – the Austric (from the regions near Australia) and Sino-Tibetan speeches.
In fact, the Dravidians and these two groups had been living here much before the Aryans came riding in.
The Austric group is the mother of the Kol and Munda speeches of Central and Eastern India, Nicobarese of Nicobar Islands, Santhal of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Ho of Bihar, and other tribal speeches. A linguist would happily link up India with Burma, Indo-China, Malaya and Indonesia.

The Sino-Tibetan speakers might have sneaked in through the Brahmaputra Valley in pre-historic times. Though numerous, their languages remained in shadows, except for some which are prominent till today like Lahauli and Kinnauri (of Himachal Pradesh), Lepcha and Newari (of Nepal), Manipuri and Bodo-Naga (of the northeast) and some others.

Anyway, while these numerous languages and their dialects developed, a swelling corpus of literature too formed. A brief introduction to each follows.



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