Languages in Pondicherry

The diverse languages in Pondicherry reflect the varied cultural and social life style of the local inhabitants of the Union Territory. The majority of the local inhabitants of Pondicherry converse in Dravidian languages of Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. English and French are spoken mostly by the educated elites of the Union Territory.

Reflecting the vibrant and dynamic socio- cultural traditions of the region, Pondicherry recognizes many languages as its state language. Most of the schools of the Union Territory impart education in the vernacular language of Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. However, some of the convent schools teach most of the subjects in English. In the recent years, Hindi has also emerged as one of the prominent language of the native population.

Upholding the traditional legacy and its attachment to the French empire during the ancient times, French has automatically become an important language of communication in Pondicherry. One can find influence of French architecture and culture in every nook and corner of the place.

Pondicherry has adopted a multi language policy. While the areas close to Kerala have Malayalam as their dominant language, the region besides Tamil Nadu bears a rich influence of the Tamil language.

English has however turned out to be the most acceptable and common form of language while interacting with the outsiders. While almost all the educated inhabitants can converse fluently in English, some of the native population has also picked up the language for their convenience.

The languages in Pondicherry portray the multilingual and multi-ethnic pattern of the social and cultural traditions of the Union Territory.

English in Pondicherry

Officially called Puducherry, this is one of the important Union Territories of India. This territory is located on the south eastern coastal region of the country. With its capital city based at Pondicherry, this Union Territory covers a total area of 492 sq. km. Since, the place was a French colony in the earlier days, it is famously known as the "French Riviera of the East". Thus, the language of French as well as English is a known language to many of the locals.

Being situated towards the southern part of the nation and because of its proximity to the state of Tamil Nadu, the main official language of the territory is Tamil. Many other languages are included in the category of the territory's official languages though. Following are some of the major official languages of Pondicherry:

  • Tamil language: 89 %
  • Malayalam language: 3.8 %
  • Telugu language: 2.9 %
  • French language: 1 %
The status of the above mentioned languages varies from one district to another though. However, the inhabitants of those districts prefer to use the language of English while communicating in between themselves or with any other state or Union Territory in the Indian Republic. The English language is even used to carry out most of the Government related works as well as other official works. Speaking this universally accepted foreign language in the region is featured with French accent, which is further tinged with the Tamil language. Over the period, this has even become a part of the living culture of the region.

Besides these, the language has got a wide usage in the sector of education of this Union Territory. The highest rate of average literacy has made the usage of the language of English quite evident. This language is commonly used for imparting quality education so as to make them capable of getting foreign jobs. This Union Territory of south India has even got many English medium schools, which proves the importance of the English language in the region.

This territory is counted to be one of the areas in the country that is known for highest leveled quality life. The residents of the territory are even fond of reading the famous daily newspapers, which are read all over the country. To name a few of the English dailies that are popular among the locals on the place are:

  • Deccan Herald
  • Hindustan Times
  • Indian Express
  • The Hindu
  • Times of India
Many readers of this Union Territory in India, who want to get detailed information about the international affairs as well as to be among the first ones to know about those news, even opt for some of the following newspapers and journals, which are published in the English language:

  • B. B. C. News
  • The Moscow Times
  • The Sunday Times

French in Pondicherry

A prominent language of Pondicherry, French bears relics to the diversified historical ancestry and cultural legacy of the state. The Union Territory of Pondicherry was under the French rule for a long time. One can experience the influence of French architecture, social customs and cultural traditions in every nook and corner of Pondicherry.

A vast majority of the indigenous local inhabitants of Pondicherry speak French. Most of the schools in Pondicherry encourage the students to take up French as one of the subjects. Many educational institutions have also introduced French as the first language. Upholding the traditional legacy, most people have retained French as an important language of the Union Territory.

The introduction of French as a subject at the school level is an added advantage for the students who have an edge over students from other states on the ground that they have a mastery over one of the important foreign languages. Pondicherry also boasts of numerous schools where the medium of instruction is French.

Representing the multilingual nature of Pondicherry, the French language occupies a predominant position in the field of foreign literature and language. The fact that the local inhabitants of Pondicherry attach much importance to French as a language becomes evident from the observation that even though French is not the official language, a vast majority of the native population do speak the foreign language.

The adoption of French as one of the major languages in Pondicherry reflects the strong bond of the local inhabitants towards the colonial legacy of the French rule. While the French rulers have left India, they have left behind some of their social and the cultural customs that have become synonymous with the local tradition of Pondicherry.

Malayalam in Pondicherry

Upholding the rich traditional ancestry and cultural legacy of the Union Territory, a vast section of the local inhabitants of Pondicherry speak Malayalam. Malayalam is an officially recognized language of Pondicherry. An important language of the Dravidian family, Malayalam is taught at the school level to encourage the students to converse in the vernacular medium.

To retain the traditional cultural patterns, Pondicherry encourages the native population to speak the vernacular language of Malayalam, rather than resort to English as a medium of communication. The adoption of Malayalam as one of the official languages reaffirms the intense devotion and dedication of the indigenous local population to their strong root.

Malayalam is widely taught at the school level as an important subject. The acceptance of the vernacular language of Malayalam has led to the proliferation of literary creativity in the field of art and literature.

One of the oldest languages of the Indian sub- continent, Malayalam language does not bear any resemblance to Sanskrit. The Malayalam language has a rich historical past. Keeping in tune with the enriched cultural heritage of the ancient times, Malayalam language has proved to be a major vehicle of propagating knowledge about the bygone golden era.

One can amass a wide gamut of knowledge about traditional social and cultural life of the South Indians by going through the literary creations of the Malayalam language. The vernacular language of Malayalam is spoken mostly by the indigenous local inhabitants of Mahe and Yanam. The adoption of Malayalam language as one of the main languages of Pondicherry has strengthened the strong traditional culture of the region.

Tamil in Pondicherry

One of the prominent languages of the Dravidian family, Tamil is spoken by the majority of population of Pondicherry. Most of the educational institutions of Pondicherry impart education in Tamil language.

Tamil has become a dominant language of the majority of population of the Union Territory. Almost all the schools encourage the students to take Tamil as their first language. The predominance of Tamil in the urban areas of Pondicherry reflects the strong bond of the local indigenous population to their roots.

The propagation of Tamil literature and language has helped the vast population to gain a better insight into the rich culture and tradition of the South Indians. In an age when most of the people are struggling to learn English and other global languages, to interact freely and conveniently, the firm determination of the native population to learn Tamil only shows their deep love and respect for their own tradition and culture.

The focus on Tamil has led to a proliferation of excellent pieces of prose, poetry, short stories and other forms of literary creations. Most of the students have taken a keen interest in the vernacular language of Tamil. While the Tamil speaking population is essentially required to take Tamil as their prime language, for the non Tamil population, the schools have encouraged them to have Tamil as their second language.

An important form of interaction, Tamil occupies a pre eminent position in the languages in Pondicherry. The unanimous adoption of Tamil as one of the important languages in Pondicherry has led to the strengthening of strong relationship among the native populations.

Telugu in Pondicherry

Representing the varied cultural ancestry and traditional legacy of the state, a vast majority of the native population of Pondicherry speak Telugu. One of the prominent languages of the Dravidian group, Telugu is an important means of communication for the local inhabitants of the Union Territory.

Most of the schools encourage the students to take Telugu language as one of their main subjects. The Telugu language has been officially recognized by the government of Pondicherry. Owing to its geographical proximity to the South Indian states, the majority of the local inhabitants of Pondicherry follow the social and cultural patterns of South India.

The adoption of Telugu as an important vernacular language of the Union Territory has led to the creation of beautiful and artistic literary works that has attracted the attention of every single individual.

Telugu language is mostly spoken by the indigenous inhabitants of Mahe and Yanam. In this world of cut throat competition where most young people are trying to grasp the English language as a medium of interaction, the fact that the local indigenous population of Pondichery has stuck to its vernacular language of Telugu reflects their strong bond with their traditional culture.

The devotion and dedication of the native population to their own social and cultural life styles is portrayed through their firm determination to adopt Telugu as their official language.

The Telugu language occupies a predominant position among the common languages in Pondicherry. One of the enriched languages of the Indian sub- continent, the literary marvels of the Telugu language has vividly portrayed the unique traditional, social and cultural life patterns of the region in and around of Pondicherry.

Last Updated on 30 May 2013