In the ever increasing push to expand their global presence, even businesses around the world are opening up opportunities for those that speak non-native languages. Spanish in India is one of these areas. But does this translate into sizable numbers of those in India that speak Spanish? How common is Spanish in India?
Spanish is extremely uncommon in India and is not spoken by even fractions of a percent of the population. The probability of randomly finding a Spanish speaker is astronomical (50,000:1). Finding those studying it is difficult as well in a country of over 450 spoken languages.
In this article I will deep dive into the Spanish language in this country on the Asian continent that not only is the second most populated country in the world, but has over 22 recognized languages. Let’s look at what the Spanish landscape looks like in the wettest inhabited place on earth.
- 1 How Widely Spoken Is Spanish In India?
- 2 What Are The Top 5 Languages Spoken In India?
- 3 Can I Get Around In India Only Speaking Spanish?
- 4 The Final Word On Spanish In India…
How Widely Spoken Is Spanish In India?
With the British empire in the 1950’s setting the official languages for India as Hindi and English and its several hundred indigenous languages all competing for the minds of Indians, how can a language like Spanish make a dent in the language atmosphere? How widely spoken is Spanish in India?
Spanish is not widely or commonly spoken in India at all. Its use is essentially non-existent when compared to Hindi and the other native languages of the area. Spanish use even pails in comparison with the one major language hailing from outside of the country, English.
Let’s look at the numbers a little closer to get a better idea of how Spanish stacks up. Though there is a trend in education for Spanish to be chosen more than in the past as a second language, the numbers tells us that this rise may be negligible in the grand scheme.
How Many Spanish Speakers Are In India?
With the prevalence of Spanish in the United States pushing numbers of speakers into the range of 38 million (native speakers), it is interesting to contrast the relative non-existence of Spanish in India. Though there are no official numbers, those studying Spanish and immigrant populations can tell us how many speak Spanish in India fairly closely.
Out of the 1,400,591,590 people in India, there are only a few thousand studying the language on some level either personally or in schools. With over 400 native languages, many with cultural and geographic ties to the people living and working there, Spanish has almost no presence.
The number fluctuates depending on the more independent states that make up India and the current administrations view on languages in schools. There is also a push by many companies to employ Indians with foreign language skills, but Spanish is one that can offer employers lower paid employees in Latin American countries.
The numbers themselves are very low for Spanish speakers in India. What does this mean in terms of percentage of the population?
What Percentage Of India Speaks Spanish?
With the actual numbers of people speaking Spanish so low, what would a percentage look like? What percentage of India speaks Spanish?
The percentage of Indians that speak Spanish is a small fraction of a small fraction of 1%. This also doesn’t take into account the fact that with no real opportunities to use it on a daily basis, Spanish proficiency levels will be very low by most of those claiming some Spanish ability.
The actual percentage numbers would equate to effectively ‘none’ in probability standards. You would have to literally go through thousands of strangers before finding one Spanish speaker.
Best guess estimates would put Spanish speakers at somewhere around 25,000 learning in schools, universities, and private language schools. If that number is close to correct, it would mean that you would have to meet over 50,000 Indians to find one that could have some form of conversation in Spanish.
The ratio for the probability of finding a Spanish Speaker in India is an astonishing 50,000 to 1.
How Many Spaniards Live In India?
The number of Spanish immigrants either from Spain or Latin American countries could play a part in raising the Spanish level in India. How many from Spanish speaking countries have immigrated to India.
The numbers of immigrants from Spain or Latin American countries that have settled in India is so small that there are no official numbers available. The estimates range from hundreds to thousands, but the number is exceedingly small in comparison to India’s population.
There is little hope in finding native Spanish speakers in India without specifically knowing of one by name.
Here are some other great articles about Spanish you will enjoy…
- How Common Is Spoken Spanish In Germany?
- How Common Is Spoken Spanish In France? (Revealed)
- How Common Is Spoken Spanish In Greece? (Explained)
What Are The Top 5 Languages Spoken In India?
Only one of the most spoken languages in India are originate outside of the country. The rest of them are native variants to the region. This says a lot about how connected the people are to their country and cultures. So, what are the top five languages spoken in India?
The top five languages spoken in India by numbers of speakers and percentage of the total population are:
|Language||Total Number Of Speakers||Percentage Of Total Population|
The history of occupation and conquest can tell a lot about a country’s language profile. The control by the British Empire left its mark on the country by setting it’s top two most spoken languages as well as the two most important official languages.
Though these numbers fluctuate from time to time, Spanish makes literally no impact on the types of languages spoken by the people of India. English is the only language to be used in significant numbers that finds its roots elsewhere.
Can I Get Around In India Only Speaking Spanish?
When considering the bleak outlook of Spanish speaking in India, as a tourist, student, or professional, would it be possible to get around in the country only using Spanish?
It would be highly unlikely for someone staying more than a few days to be able to function using only Spanish in India. There are designated tourist areas where audio guides may be found in Spanish, but save the occasional Spanish language tour, it will not be used or usable.
People living, working, or visiting India have very different ideas of what it would mean to use Spanish in the country. Let’s look at the level, if any, you can expect to find.
Is There Spanish On Indian Street Signs?
To move freely it is important to know the rules, where you are going, and any things to look out for when in an unfamiliar country. What about the street signs that help us do this? Is there Spanish on any street, road, or caution signs in India?
There is no Spanish on any street or caution signs in India. The only exceptions would be signs designating Spanish speaking tours in tourist areas or the rare occasions one would be seen at an international airport. Most signs are pictographs, in English, or in Hindi.
There are some exceptions for languages used as official in individual regions, but this does not change the situation for Spanish.
Is Spanish Spoken In The Indian Workplace?
Here there could be more of a presence, though minuscule in comparison with other languages. With India’s rising international tech support and customer service industry being utilized by companies all across the globe, one would think that Spanish could be found. Yet, is this the case? Is Spanish prevalent in the Indian workplace?
Spanish is extremely rare in the Indian workplace and any employee or business professional would be expected to use Hindi, English, or some other local language. Spanish language ability is widespread in Latin American countries which means those international jobs tend to locate there.
This is not to say that there are no Spanish speakers, only that it is very rare. Finding one will simply be the rare exception and not the rule.
Can Spanish Be Heard In Indian Media?
Is dubbing a popular practice in Indian films or are the original voices and languages kept?
Dubbing is not only popular in India, but has been the norm for generations. Spanish films making it to India will have been dubbed into Hindi or other local languages. Even Bollywood films for years were not sync sound produced because dubbing was a foregone conclusion.
Though sync sound is becoming more popular, dubbing will most definitely be done to foreign films that make it to India small and large screens alike.
Can I Live In India Speaking Spanish?
Those wishing to move to India and have Spanish as their native tongue may wonder how much Spanish will be usable in daily life. Can someone move to India and speak Spanish only or at least most of the time?
Spanish is practically unusable in daily, business, or educational activities in India. It is virtually impossible to only use Spanish as your mode of communication. With only a fraction of a percent of the population speaking it, foreigners should use the languages they choose for themselves.
That being said, using Spanish as a tour guide or call center employee could be done some of the time. These jobs are rare, low paying, and usually part time. So, moving to India with this as your goal is not the wisest of choices.
The Final Word On Spanish In India…
The short answer to the question, “Is Spanish commonly spoken in India?” is, no.
The longer answer entails Spanish missionaries, British control, and a loosely knitted group of ‘states’ that make up the country to begin with. Though there has been some Spanish influence in the past, it has waned to the point of near non-existence.
Spanish is simply not widely spoken or regarded as necessary in India. Though you may find a rare exception, this is the case for most Indians.
To read more great articles like this one, see some of mine here…