Indian English

Indian English
Native toRepublic of India
RegionSouth Asia
Native speakers
~260,000 first language, or native, speakers. (2011 Census of India)[1][2][3]
~83 million second language speakers
~46 million third language speakers
rarely in local scripts[4]
Language codes
ISO 639-3eng
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Indian English is the regional variant of the English language spoken in the Republic of India, and among the Indian diaspora elsewhere in the world.[6] The Constitution of India has mandated Hindi in the Devanagari script to be the official language of the Indian union; English is an additional official language for government work along with Hindi.[7] English is also the sole official language of the Judiciary of India, unless a state Governor or legislature has mandated the use of regional language, or Presidential approval has been given for the use of regional languages in courts.[8]


After independence from Great Britain in 1947, English remained an official language of the new Dominion of India, and later, the Republic of India. Only a few hundred thousand Indians, or less than 0.1% of the total population, have English as their first language.[9][10][11][12]

According to the 2001 Census, 12.6% of Indians knew English.[13][failed verification] An analysis of the 2001 Census of India[14] concluded that approximately 86 million Indians reported English as their second language, and another 39 million reported it as their third language.

According to the 2005 India Human Development Survey,[15] of the 41,554 surveyed, households reported that 72% of men (29,918) did not speak any English, 28% (11,635) spoke at least some English, and 5% (2,077, roughly 17.9% of those who spoke at least some English) spoke fluent English. Among women, the corresponding percentages were 83% (34,489) speaking no English, 17% (7,064) speaking at least some English, and 3% (1,246, roughly 17.6% of those who spoke at least some English) speaking English fluently.[16] According to statistics of District Information System for Education (DISE) of National University of Educational Planning and Administration under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, enrollment in English-medium schools increased by 50% between 2008–09 and 2013–14. The number of English-medium school students in India increased from over 15 million in 2008–09 to 29 million by 2013–14.[17]

According to the 2011 Census, 129 million (10.6%) Indians spoke English. 259,678 (0.02%) Indians spoke English as their first language.[18] It concluded that approximately 83 million Indians (6.8%) reported English as their second language, and 46 million (3.8%) reported it as their third language, making English the second-most spoken language in India.[2]

India ranks 22 out of 72 countries in the 2016 EF English Proficiency Index published by the EF Education First. The index gives the country a score of 57.30 indicating "moderate proficiency". India ranks 4th out of 19 Asian countries included in the index.[19] Among Asian countries, Singapore (63.52), Malaysia (60.70) and the Philippines (60.33) received higher scores than India.

Court language

English, according to the Indian Constitution, is the language of the Supreme Court and all the High Courts of India.[8] However, in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan there is use of Hindi in courts because of Presidential approval.[20] In 2018, the Punjab and Haryana High Court also await Presidential approval for Hindi use as well.[21]