Hindi speakers

Heinz Werner Wessler HWW-GR at T-ONLINE.DE
Sat Dec 4 15:42:11 UTC 1999

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Dear Harold F. Schiffman,

the census-data have to be interpreted carefully. The census of 1991 gives a
number of 337.272.114 Hindi speakers, the 1981 census
has 264.189.057 speakers in terms of main language spoken in the

The percentage of Hindi speakers (now 40.22) in total population is reported
growing steadily, but this does not necessarily reflect Hindi gaining ground as
a mother tongue in India. This is not only a question of a different subgrouping
of dialects, but of prestige language and the interview situation with the
census officer etc. The numbers, even if they pretend objectiveness, are also
affected by a political will to let Hindi grow withing the population.

Among the socio-linguistic studies written on this issue let me mention:
Krishna, Sumi, India's living languages: The critical issues, New Delhi 1991.

Heinz Werner Wessler

Harold F. Schiffman schrieb:

> Kira,
> Go to the Census of India page:
> http://www.censusindia.net/
> and follow the various leads; it'll probably give you the closest details.
> Hal S.
> On Wed, 1 Dec 1999, Kira Hall wrote:

> > Does anyone know of the latest official estimates of how many people in
> > India (or elsewhere) claim Hindi as their mother language, and how many
> > speak Hindi as a second language?  I would be very grateful for the
> > information.
> >
> > Kira Hall

Dr.Heinz Werner Wessler
Bergstr. 27A
D-53844 Troisdorf
Fon/Fax: 0228-455125

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