Language Composition in Karnataka


"The death of a language means the death of thousands of years of experience, history, cultural diversity and the very identity of the people. Language, the important attribute of a population, has great relevance and significance in a pluri-lingual and pluri-ethnic land like India. The language data having the ethnic and linguistic characteristics of the population has been an indiscreet source of information.''

The population of Karnataka is 5.28 crore (528 lakh). Of this, 3.48 crore people speak Kannada. Those who speak Telugu (36.98 lakh) form the largest non-Kannada-speaking community after Urdu (55.39 lakh). After Telugu speakers are those who speak Marathi (18.92 lakh) and Tamil (18.74 lakh). The IT/BT revolution has led to an increase in the Hindi-speaking community (13.44 lakh). Konkani-speakers (7.68 lakh) outnumber Malayalees (7.01 lakh).

Kannada is the eighth most spoken language in the country. After Kannada and Urdu, Telugu is the most spoken language in Karnataka. Tamil ranks behind Telugu and Marathi, while speakers of Malayalam are way behind, their population in the state being a little over seven lakh.

Among the north Indian communities, the state is a favourite with Gujaratis (1.02 lakh). The Bengali community has a good presence with 41,256 people, followed by speakers of Oriya (16,529), Punjabi (15,572) and Sindhi (14,694). Kannadigas do not seem to be an adventurous lot. Their presence in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is way behind the presence of speakers of Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Malayalam in Karnataka.

The presence of Kannadigas in Andhra Pradesh (5.65 lakh) is seven times less than the presence of Telugu population in Karnataka (36.98 lakh).

Outside Karnataka, Maharashtra has the highest number of Kannadigas (12.54 lakh). In Tamil Nadu, there are 10.45 lakh Kannadigas, while Goa and Delhi are home to 74,615 and 10,525 Kannadigas, respectively. There are 39 Kannadigas in Lakshadweep.

  •  Total number of mother tongues in India: 6,661
  •  The Coorgi (Kodava) population in India: 166187
  •  Tulu-speaking people in India: 17.22 lakh
  •  There are 2,26,449 persons in the country whose mother tongue is English
  •  Hindi, which is in No. 1 position in the country, has recorded a steady growth from 1971 to 2001.     The figure, which was 20.27 crore in 1971, rose to 42.2 crore in 2001


    Source: TNN