Languages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Languages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Languages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Hindi and English are the official languages of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, Bengali is the major language of the island group. Hindi takes the second place in terms of numbers of speakers on the Islands. Tamil, Telugu, Nicobarese, and other follows them. Ethnologue list twenty five major and minor languages on the Islands, and few of them are lost forever.

The languages of Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be divided into three groups: 1. Languages of Mainland India, 2. Languages of Andaman Islands, and 3. Languages of Nicobar Islands.

1. Languages of Mainland India
This group contains languages of mainland India across various language families such as Hindi, English, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Others. Though none of them is native language, but these are migrant languages which came along with their speakers.

2. Languages of Andaman Islands
Languages of Andaman Islands can be divided into three groups, (1) Great Andamanese Languages, (2) Ongan Languages, and (3) Sentinelese.

Most of the languages under Great Andamanese Group are lost. The last fluent speaker of Aka-Jeru died in 2009. It is now present only in creole form, known as Great Andamanese or Jero. The extinct languages under Great Andamanese group are: Aka-Bea (Bea), Akar-Bale (Bale), Aka-Kede (Kede), Aka-Kol (Kol), Oko-Juwoi (Juwoi), A-Pucikwar (Pucikwar), Aka-Cari (Chari), Aka-Kora (Kora), Aka-Jeru (Jeru), and Aka-Bo (Bo).

Ongan, also known as Angan, South Andamanese, Jarawa–Onge, is a phylum of two Andamanese languages, Önge and Jarawa, spoken in the southern Andaman Islands. In 1997, Onge has 97 speakers and Jarawa has 200 speakers.

Lastly, Sentinelese is the language of Sentinelese people, and it has not been classified under any group.

3. Languages of Nicobar Islands
The Nicobarese languages form an isolated group of about half a dozen languages. They are related to Austroasiatic languages. Half of the Nicobarese language speakers only speak Car language, and there are about 30000 Nicobarese languages' speaker. The languages which fall under Nicobarese language group are Car, Chaura-Teressa, Nancowry (Muot), Camorta, Trinkat, Katchail, and Southern Nicobarese.