According to Ethnologue, India is considered to be home to 398 languages out of which 11 have been reported as extinct. But still there is not a single Indian language which is spoken across its length and breadth. Hindi is spoken by the majority of North Indians but it’s not a popular means of communication in southern part of India. Similarly south Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam – are not understood by the people of northern India.
For the convenience of people, the Constitution of India has recognized 22 languages as official languages of India. These are known as Scheduled Languages and constitute the major languages of India. These are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odiya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Santhali and Urdu.
Besides these, there are Indian languages which are spoken by large masses but have still not acquired the status of Scheduled Languages of India. These languages spoken by regional people are known as regional languages of India. This includes Rajasthani, Bihari, Haryanavi, Bhili, Gondi and Tulu among others. Some Indian languages are not widely spoken; they are given the status of minority languages. Mahl and Portuguese languages come under this category.
This linguistic diversity notwithstanding, we have always had a sort of link language, though it has varied from age to age. In ancient times it was Sanskrit, in as official languages. medieval age it was Arabic or Persian and in modern times we have Hindi and English as official languages .