What writing system(s) does this language use?
The Kannada script is an abugida of the Brahmic family, primarily to write the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages in India. It is also used for Konkani, Tulu and Kodava languages. Like the scripts used to write other South Asian languages, the Kannada script is very different from the letters you are reading now. An example of a sign with words in Kannada script and in English is to the left.
How many people speak this language?
Approximately sixty million people speak Kannada mainly in the state of Karnataka in South India. People in other Indian states and mainly in western countries form a small percentage of Kannada speaking population.
Where is this language spoken?
Kannada is spoken in the Karnataka state of India. Kannada is also the official language of the state and is considered as one of the eighteen official languages of India.
What is the history of this language?
Kannada is the second oldest language of India after Sanskrit and is also old as Tamil. It has a verbal history of over 2,300 years and Kannada words could be identified in Emperor Ashoka's edicts. Kannada become a literary language in the 6th century. The oldest inscriptions of Kannada language can be found in the "Halmidi Shaasana" of the fifth or sixth century. The oldest literary epic in Kannada "Kavirajamarga" which follows the Sanskrit tradition of Poetics. Pampa is the best known of the earliest poets whose "Adipurana" and "Vikramaarjunavijayam" form the brightest jewels in the Kannada literary history.
"Kavirajamarga" - a treatise on poetics and language was the first literary work. Though there has been much debate over the author, academics all over common term the author as "kavirajamargakaara". Pampa, Ranna and Ponna formed the "Ratnatraya" meaning the "Jewel trinity" of early Kannada literature. The Vachana saahithya then formed the biggest milestone in Kannada literature with Bhakti traditionists like Basavanna, Akkamahadevi, Allamaprabhu, Jedara Dasimayya etc. This also laid the cornerstone for the Veerashaiva movement in Karnataka ending in a huge social upheaval and a wateshed in the demographics of the region. Some of the Shaivaite poets of recognition have been Harihara and Raghavanka. Kumaravyaasa and Lakshmeesha wrote Mahabhaaratha's that complied with the ethos of the Kannada language and culture. The Dasa saahithya propounded by Purandara Dasa, Kanakadasa and other monks of the Dwaita tradition also formed a watershed in Kannada literature.
A long slump in any significant contribution to literature was broken by the Navodaya literature in the turn of the century by greats like B.M.Srikantaiah, T.S.Venkanaiah, D.V.Gundappa, Kuvempu, D.R.Bendre, Pu.Ti.Narasimhachar. Great works like "RamayanaDarshanam" and "MankutimmanaKagga" reclaimed the Kannada ethos and upheld the uniqueness of the Kannada psyche. Following on the heals of Navodaya, the Navya tradition rebelled against the traditionalists and formed a new path. The proponents of this path were Gopalakrishna Adiga, V.K.Gokak, U.R.Ananthamurthy etc. Further, Dalit and Bandaya saahithya enriched the varied range of Kannada litearture with authors like Devanuru Mahadeva and Siddalingaiah.
Other notable laureates of the century were Shivaram Karanth, Shreeranga, Niranjana, A.Na.Krishnarao, P.Lankesh, Girish Karnad.
Kannada literature's richness has been emphasized by the fact that till recently it had the unique distinction of having received seven Jnanapeetha awards.
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
avva, amma, taayi, maatey - mother
appa, appaaji, tande, pitaa, ayya - father
anna, annayya - elder brother
tamma, tammayya - younger brother
akka, akkayya - elder sister
tangi, tangamma - younger sister
bhaava - elder brother in law
bhaavmaida, maiduna, maida - younger brother in law
maava - father in law
atte - mother in law
doddamma - elder aunt
chikkamma - younger aunt
doddappa - elder uncle
chikkappa - younger uncle..
naanu, naan, en, naa, eer - I
naavu, em, naam - We
neev, eev, - you(plural)
neen, nee - you(singular)
oota - lunch, dinner.
tindi - eatable, tiffin.
hogu, pogu - go
baa, baru - come
baruve, baruththeeni - coming
hoguve, hoguththeeni - going
anna - boiled rice
akki - raw rice
jola - jowar
raagi - ragi
hittu - flour, mixed flour.
saambaar, saaru, huli - thick spicy soup.
rasam, tili saaru - dilute spicy soup.
mudde - a special dish of karnataka made using rice, ragi, jowar, or wheat ..etc.
rotti - a special pan-cake dish of karnataka made using rice, ragi, jowar, or wheat ..etc.
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
Introduction • Glossary • Authors and Contributing • Print Version