Introduction to Indic languages

Executive overview

Even though India has 18 official languages, there are a host of other unofficial languages and scripts that make India linguistically a very rich region.

Indic languages belong to four major families: Indo-Aryan (or Indo-European), Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Sino-Tibetan. The majority of languages belong to the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian families. Indic writing systems are orthographic, and combine phonemic and syllabic systems. Each syllable is formed by a combination of vowels and consonants which may be rearranged around the root to form an independent visual unit. Although this describes most Indic character formation rules, the fact that the physical order of text is different from the phonemic order causes Indic languages to be considered complicated. However, this discussion will show that if a developer understands the linguistic roots of this behavior, an intuitive implementation of Indic languages is not difficult.