Hindi and Bengali speakers who are India’s largest linguistic groups are also the least multilingual. There are only a few shares of people who know more than one language. Those who speak Urdu as their mother tongue are the most multilingual with 62% knowing one more language, typically Hindi.
Recently released Census 2011 data shows that for 87% of bilingual Punjabis and Punjabis are the next most multilingual with 53% knowing two languages. The other language they knew was Hindi and for 11% it was English. Punjabi speakers also accounted for the largest proportion of people speaking three languages among the scheduled languages. Of the trilingual Punjabis, 82% knew English and about 17% knew Hindi.
According to the report published in Times of India, the third largest linguistic group are Marathi speakers of over 83 million, among which 47% of them speak one more language. For most of these, Hindi was the second language they knew.
Hindi speakers which are about 520 million, there are only 12% among them who were bilingual, the largest part among them being the 32 million who knew English. This was followed Marathi which are about 60.5 lakh, an indication of the migration from the north to Maharashtra. Of the 79 lakh Hindi speakers who were trilingual, English was the third language for 32 lakh.