verdastelo wrote:That could be because both the Ukrainian and Pakistani census officials don't collect data on second and third languages. So at first glance, the data does seem counterintuitive. Kiev without Russian and Lahore without Urdu.
My point is more that there are bilinguals whose primary language is Russian (or Urdu) and still declare Ukrainian (or Punjabi) as their mother tongue because it is the language of their ethnic identity. I don't think asking about second or third languages would change much -- presumably they would still place Ukrainian/Punjabi first and Russian/Urdu second, even if they're more comfortable in the latter.
I suspect something similar is at play among those who declared Sanskrit as their first language. I am aware that there are a couple of villages in India where Sanskrit has been established as a medium of everyday communication, so I imagine many of the people there would declare Sanskrit as their first language even though it wasn't the primary language of their upbringing and early socialisation. Or perhaps there are other Brahmins or Hindu nationalists who write in Sanskrit for identity reasons. I could be wrong but these efforts to introduce spoken Sanskrit in these villages seem too recent to have produced a properly nativised code that has become the primary variety of a speech community. This 2018 report on the allegedly Sanskrit-speaking village Mattur in Karnataka seems to show children being taught to chant and learning it as a foreign language (would they be taught to say "I am x, she is y" in Sankethi or Kannada?); it doesn't show children using it amongst themselves in their socialisation, nor is it clear if it is even the main medium of instruction in the school.