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II. 2 Linguistic elements in the Indian population and their distribution

Languages in India are divided into 6 linguistic families by G.A.Garrison in 1927.
They are:

I. TheAustric Family: The speakers of these languages are Proto-Australoid and Australoid tribes. It has two sub families:

  1. Australasian:These languages are prevalent in Madagascar, Indonesia and Pacific Islands and not spoken in India.
  2. Austro-Asiatic: This family is further subdivided into two branches:
    1. Mon- Khemer: Nicobarese language spoken by Nicobarese people, Khasi language spoken by Khasi tribes of Meghalaya belong to this branch
    2. Munda Branch:It is the largest of Austric family which includes 14 languages. Mundari, Santhali are the best known languages of this branch.

II. KarenFamily: This family is spoken by Karen tribe of South Burma and parts of Thailand and not spoken in the Indian mainland.

III. ManFamily: It is spoken by tribes in China, Indochina, Indo-Burmese border.

IV. Tibeto-ChineseFamily: It is further classified into Tibeto-Burman sub-family which has three branches

  1. Tibeto-Himalayan: The languages belonging to this group are Tibetan, Ladakhi, Balti, Purik, Lohke etc
  2. NorthAssam: The languages belonging to this group are Aka, Urgkas, Dafla, Mishni etc
  3. Assam-Burmese: These languages are spoken in Naga hills, Garo Hills, Tippara Hills, Manipur etc which are to the south of Himalayas

V. DravidianFamily: Spoken by most of the Dravidian ethnic group except Mundas. It is a very closely knit family and Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam account for 96% of the speakers  This family has 3 groups:

  1. The South Dravidian Group: This group includes the major languages like Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and minor languages like Tulu, Coorgi, Erukula etc.
  2. The Central Dravidian Group: This group includes Telugu, the most widely spoken Dravidian language and minor languages like Gondi, Kui, Khond, Koya etc.
  3. The North Dravidian Group: This group consists of Kurukh, Oraon, Malti etc.

VI. Indo-European Family: This family has 3 branches

  1. Iranian branch: This is spoken from Iran to the east of Pamirs.
  2. Dardicor Pisacha branch: These languages are spoken in Sindh, Pakistan and Kashmir.
  3. Indo-Aryan branch: This is the most widely spoken branch in India. It has 3 sub branches.
    1. Outer sub branch: It has three groups
      1. Northwest group: Punjabi, Sindhi
      2. Southern group: Marathi
      3. Eastern group: Oriya, Bihari, Bengali, Assamese
    2. Intermediate sub branch: This has intermediate groups that include eastern Hindi or Purviya languages
    3. Inner sub branch: It has two groups:
    4. Centralgroup: Western Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bhilli, Kandeshi, Rajasthani
    5. Paharigroup: Pahari, Nepali, Kumaoni, Gharwali, Kuluhi, Jaunsari.

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