Kannada language

Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ)
Spoken in: Karnataka, India
Region: South Asia
Total speakers: 45 million
Ranking: 33
Genetic classification: Dravidian


Official status
Official language of: Karnataka, India
Regulated by: Kannada Saahithya Parishath
Language codes
ISO 639-1kn
ISO 639-2kan
See also: LanguageList of languages

Kannada - aptly described as 'sirigannada' (known to few as Kanarese) is one of the oldest Dravidian languages and is spoken in its various dialects by roughly 45 million people. It is the state language of Karnataka, one of the four southern states in India.


The language

The Kannada language has been spoken for about 2500 years, with the Kannada writing system being in use for about the last 1900 years. The initial development of the Kannada language is similar to that of other Dravidian languages, notably Tamil and Telugu. During later centuries, Kannada, along with Telugu, has been highly influenced by Sanskrit vocabulary and literary styles.

Kannada is a highly inflected language with three genders (masculine, feminine, neutral or common) and two numbers (singular, plural). It is inflected for gender, number and tense, among other things.

Missing image
Kannada flag - known as 'Kannada bhaavuTa'

There is also a sharp distinction between the spoken and written forms of the language. Spoken Kannada tends to vary from region to region. The written form is more or less constant throughout Karnataka, however. The ethnologue identifies about 20 dialects of Kannada. Notable of them are Kodava (spoken in Coorg district), Kunda (spoken exclusively in Kundapura), Havyaka (spoken mainly by Havyaka Brahmanas of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Sagara, and Udupi districts), Are Bhashe (spoken mainly in Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada), Soliga Kannada, Badaga Kannada, Gulbarga Kannada, Hubli Kannada, etc.

Missing image
Kannada on Wikipedia

Geographic distribution

Kannada is mainly spoken in Karnataka in India, and to a lesser extent in the neighbouring states. There are significant Kannada speaking populations in the United States and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in Canada.

A Kannada language sign board
A Kannada language sign board

There is also a large section of the coastal areas speaking a dialect called Tulu. It is perhaps one of the oldest dialects that exist in Karnataka.

The given flag is inverted, it is wrong, the correct one is first yellow and second is red

Official status

Kannada is one of the 22 official languages of India and is the state official language of the state of Karnataka.

Kannada script

Main article: Kannada alphabet
See the Kannada Aksharamaale (alphabets) here

The language has 52 letters and is phonemic. The character set is almost identical to that of other Indian languages. The script itself, derived from brahmi script, is fairly complicated like most other languages of India owing to the occurrence of various combinations of "half-letters", or symbols that attach to various letters in a manner similar to diacritical marks (such as aige, grave, and cédille marks) in Romance languages. The number of written symbols, however, is far more than the 52 characters in the alphabet, owing to the fact that different characters can be combined to form compound characters (ottaksharas). Each written symbol in the Kannada script corresponds with one syllable, as opposed to one phoneme in languages like English.


Several transliteration schemes are used to type Kannada characters using a standard keyboard. These include Baraha (based on ITRANS) and Nudi, the Government of Karnataka's standard for Kannada transliteration...

Few unique things about Kannada

Kannada has a few firsts. The first encyclopedia was written in Kannada. This was later translated to Sanskrit under name Shivatatvaratnakara.

See also

Translations of commonly used phrases

Following are translations of some commonly used phrases.

  • kannada : Kannada
  • hello: Namaskaara
  • good-bye: Vandanegalu
  • please: Dayavittu
  • thank you: Dhanyavaada
  • sorry: Kshamisi
  • that one: Adu
  • how much?: Eshtu
  • yes: Houdu
  • no: Illa
  • I don't understand: Nanage Arthavaagalilla
  • Where's the bathroom?: Shoucha Gruha ellide ? OR Bacchalu mane ellide ?
  • generic toast (not used in formal conversations and to elders): (Hey): Lo
  • English: Aangla
  • Do you speak English?: Tamage Aangla Bhaashe Tilidideyo ?
  • Welcome to Karnataka!: Karnatakakke suswaagatha!

External links

Template:InterWiki Template:Wikibookspar

de:Kannada fr:Kannara kn:ಕನ್ನಡ nl:Kannada nn:Kannada pl:Język kannadaTemplate:Kannada Language


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