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Hindi Language

Map No.



The vast majority of Hindi speakers are in India, where it is the official language, and especially popular in northern and central India. The Indian census of 2001 puts the number of first-language speakers of Hindi at 422 million, although this is a broader definition of Hindi than is used elsewhere, and includes dialects that would be considered by many linguists to be distinct languages.
The Indian figure, plus speakers numbering hundreds of thousands in South Africa, Fiji, the United States, Bangladesh, Yemen, Nepal and Malaysia, makes the world total around 424 million people, including speakers in at least 18 territories. This makes Hindi the second largest language by number of speakers, after Mandarin Chinese.
Spoken Hindi is very similar to Urdu, such that speakers of the two languages can usually understand one another. However, influences of other languages in India and Pakistan, and socio-linguistic considerations, mean that they are usually considered as separate languages. Hindi borrows words from the Sanskrit language.


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Technical Notes

Territory size shows the proportion of all people who speak Hindi as a first language that live in that territory.

The maps in the 2005 language data series are made from data on the number of people speaking a language as their first-language, that is the language they would use at home.

Data sources
This map uses data several sources, the main one being Ethnologue (15th Edition, 2005). Estimating the number of speakers of a language is fraught with difficulty on several levels (last accessed January 2009). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. The language numbers we use and publish are rough estimates, and should not be taken as definitive. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

Further notes on the data, as well as all modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets.

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