USAGE BY COUNTRY (OFFICIAL LANGUAGE)Official Language: Assam/India Home Speakers: Bhutan
BACKGROUNDIt belongs to the Indo-European family, Indic branch of the Indo-Iranian subgroup. Assamese is spoken in easternmost India, in the state of Assam which borders on Burma and China. Though it is spoken by only 15 million people (less than 2 percent of India's population), it is one of the constitutionally recognised languages of the country. Assamese was banished from schools and courts in Assam in 1836 and reintroduced in 1882. Mistakenly, because of lexical similarity, since both languages derived in parallel from Sanskrit, Assamese has often been regarded as a dialect of Bengali. Among modern Indian languages, some of the early scientific work on linguistics was on Assamese. Its alphabet is similar to that of Bengali, with slightly different characters for the letters "r" and "w".