Assamese and Bodo are the official languages of the state. Linguistically modern Assamese traces its roots to eastern Magadhan Prakrit, with strong influences from the Tibeto-Burman and Mon-Khmer languages which are spoken by ethnic groups in the region. Bodo is a Tibeto-Burman language. Sylheti is the dominant language in the Barak valley. Bengali, Nepali and Hindi are other important languages spoken in the state.
Assam is a multiethnic society. Forty five different languages are spoken by different communities in Assam. The state is the meeting place of three major language families: Austroasiatic (5), Sino-Tibetan (24) and Indo-European (12). Three of the spoken languages do not fall in these families. There is a high degree of bilingualism.
The number of ethnic communities in the state is very large. The People of India project (POI) has studied 115 communities. Of these 79 (69%) identify themselves regionally, 22 (19%) identify themselves locally, and 3 communities identify themselves transnationally.
The benefit of development in Assam is relatively evenly spread. It has a larger representation of leadership in panchayat and regional levels and a relative gender equality.