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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

Mapping the Languages of India

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

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.


Landing Page of the map based Web App - This page shows the comprehensive map of the major mother tongue languages of India (21 barring Sanskrit) represented by multiple colour schemes. Towards the right are clickable bookmarked views to individual languages and where they are majorly spoken in.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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Much Thanks to Esri for the Training Material

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