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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

Mapping the Languages of India

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

As per a 2018 analysis of the 2011 Census of India, while there are 19,569 languages or dialects spoken as 'mother tongue' in India, only 121 languages are spoken by 10,000 or more people.

Of these, our constitution gives special recognition to 22 languages - 96.71% of the population have their mother tongue as one of these twenty-two languages. Using a tutorial on Learn ArcGIS, I've recreated a Thematic Map-based Web Application of The Languages of India which can be accessed from this link.

(May 2023 update: the link has expired as this project was done on a trial account. You can still read the article to know broadly the features and design of this web application)

Landing Page of the map based Web App - Languages of India
Figure 1: Landing Page of the map based Web App - Languages of India

This page shows the comprehensive map of the major mother tongue languages of India (21 barring Sanskrit) represented by multiple color schemes. Towards the right are bookmarked views to individual languages and where they are majorly spoken in.

Bengali language's prevalence in East & North-East India - Esri ArcGIS
Figure 2: Bengali language's prevalence in East & North-East India

This is the bookmarked view of Bengali language. Color transparency plays an important role in conveying the underlying theme. The darker the shade, the greater the percentage of Bengali speakers as part of the total population of that district. As you'd observe in the map, the Bengali heartland i.e. West Bengal has mostly a deep blue shade whereas the North-East has a significant, yet relatively paler shade of blue indicating the presence of population who speak other mother tongues as well.

Languages in Hyderabad Summary
Figure 3: Languages in Hyderabad Summary

The data is segregated district wise. Clicking on a district opens a pop-up which indicates the underlying population's mother tongue composition percentage-wise. For example, Hyderabad in the image above has a significant chunk of population speaking Telugu and Urdu respectively (87%). The remaining 13% is spread across 14 other mother tongue languages.

India Language Density Landing Page (Esri ArcGIS)
Figure 4: India Language Density Landing Page

Language Density landing page: You can arrive at this page by clicking on the button located on the top-left of your screen. This page is an emphatic representation of the diverse cultural heritage of India. As you'll see in the map legend, the lightest shade of yellow indicates the district where there is only 1 language spoken as mother tongue whereas the darkest shade of red indicates 30 or more! mother tongue languages spoken in that district.

List Cards - Esri ArcGIS Web Apps
Figure 5: List Cards

On the left of your screen are list cards containing facts and messages about the map. Clicking on a list card will dynamically lead you to that particular area on the map. For example, in the image above, you can see the list card mentioning the amazing fact about Dimapur in Nagaland - this district contains population which speak the maximum number of mother tongues in India - 44!


I spotted some interesting observations while browsing the Languages of India map application - For example, Dungarpur located on the southernmost tip of Rajasthan (bordering Gujrat) has a significant Punjabi speaking population (21%). Do check it for yourself. In case you gain other cool insights from browsing the map application, please feel free to share it with me on

Esri Application platform - Suitable for all screen sizes
Figure 6: Esri Application platform - Suitable for all screen sizes

Hope you tried experiencing the Languages of India Web App on your device and found it informative and convenient to use. Creating and Conveying information via Maps has never been this effective and dynamic in nature. I have used Esri's ArcGIS Experience Builder to create this web-app experience. You can view the same map on a large TV / PC screen, on medium sized iPads & Tablets and on smaller Mobile Phone screens.



Intelloc Mapping Services | Mapmyops is engaged in providing mapping solutions to organizations which facilitate operations improvement, planning & monitoring workflows. These include but are not limited to Supply Chain Design Consulting, Drone Solutions, Location Analytics & GIS Applications, Site Characterization, Remote Sensing, Security & Intelligence Infrastructure, & Polluted Water Treatment. Projects can be conducted pan-India and overseas.

Several demonstrations for these workflows are documented on our website. For your business requirements, reach out to us via email - or book a paid consultation (video meet) from the hyperlink placed at the footer of the website's landing page.


Much Thanks to Esri for the Training Material


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