India is the second largest English speaking country.

India is the second largest English speaking country

India has two national languages: Hindi and English. Hindi is the national, official language of India. English is an associate official language, more like a second language. The homeland of Hindi is mainly in the north of India, but it is spoken and widely understood in all urban centers of India. In the southern states of India, where people speak many different languages that are not much related to Hindi, there is more resistance to Hindi, which has allowed English to remain a lingua franca to a greater degree.

More Indians speak English than any other language. English speakers in India outnumber those in Western Europe. All Indian English speakers are more than twice the UK’s population.


History of English in India

 Since the early 1600s, the English language has had a toehold on the Indian subcontinent, when the East India Company established settlements in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai, formerly Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay respectively. Numerous words from India alone have become common in English today, such as: pyjamas; khaki; bungalow; jodhpurs; juggernaut; curry; chutney; shampoo and thug – to name but a few. India has had a longer exposure to English than any other country which uses it as a second language, its distinctive words, idioms, grammar and rhetoric spreading gradually to affect all places, habits and culture.


 How is English important in everyday life, in India

 English serves two purposes, in India. Firstly, it provides a linguistic tool for the administrative cohesiveness of the country, causing people who speak different languages to become united. Secondly, it serves as a language of wider communication, including a large variety of different people covering a vast area. It overlaps with local languages in certain spheres of influence and in public domains. In general, English is used among Indians as a ‘link’ language and it is the first language for many well-educated Indians. It is also the second language for many who speak more than one language in India. The English language is a tie that helps bind the many segments of our society together. Also, it is a linguistic bridge between the major countries of the world and India.


 English in politics

 English has a special national status in India. It has a special place in the parliament, judiciary, broadcasting, journalism, and in the education system. One can see a Hindi-speaking teacher giving their students instructions during an educational tour about where to meet and when their bus would leave, but all in English. It means that the language permeates daily life. It is unavoidable and is always expected, especially in the cities.


The conclusion is that the importance of the ability to speak or write English has recently increased significantly. The English language has become popular for business, commerce, and cultural reasons and especially for internet communications throughout the world. English is a language that has become a standard not because it has been approved by any ‘standards’ organization but because it is widely used by many information and technology industries and recognized as being standard. The call center phenomenon has stimulated a huge expansion of internet-related activity, establishing the future of India as a cyber-technological super-power. Modern communications, videos, journals, and newspapers on the internet use English and have made ‘knowing English’ indispensable.