Kannada (/ˈkɑːnədə, ˈkæn-/; [ˈkʌnːəɖɑː]) (Kannada:
ಕನ್ನಡ) is a
Dravidian language spoken predominantly by
Kannada people in India, mainly in the state of Karnataka, and by
significant linguistic minorities in the states of Andhra Pradesh,
Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala,
Goa and abroad. The
language has roughly 38 million native speakers, who are called
Kannada is also spoken as second and third
language by non-
Kannada speakers living in Karnataka, which adds up to
50.8 million speakers. It is one of the scheduled languages of
India and the official and administrative language of the state of
Kannada language is written using the
Kannada script, which
evolved from the 5th-century Kadamba script.
Kannada is attested
epigraphically for about one and a half millennia, and literary Old
Kannada flourished in the 6th-century Ganga dynasty and during the
9th-century Rashtrakuta Dynasty.
Kannada has an unbroken
literary history of over a thousand years.
Based on the recommendations of the Committee of Linguistic Experts,
appointed by the ministry of culture, the government of India
Kannada a classical language of India. In July
2011, a centre for the study of classical
Kannada was established as
part of the
Central Institute of Indian Languages at
facilitate research related to the language.
2 Influence of
Sanskrit and Prakrit
3.1 Early traces
4.1 Old Kannada
4.2 Middle Kannada
4.3 Modern Kannada
5 Patronage of
6 Areas of influence
9 Writing system
Kannada script evolution
Kannada script in computing
10.1 Compound bases
11 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links
Kannada is a Southern Dravidian language, and according to Dravidian
scholar Sanford B. Steever, its history can be conventionally divided
into three periods:
Old Kannada (Halegannada) from 450–1200 CE,
Kannada (Nadugannada) from 1200–1700, and Modern
1700 to the present.
Kannada is influenced to an appreciable
extent by Tamil and Sanskrit. Influences of other languages such as
Pali can also be found in the
Kannada language. The
Iravatham Mahadevan indicated that
Kannada was already a
language of rich oral tradition earlier than the 3rd century BCE, and
based on the native
Kannada words found in
Prakrit and Tamil
inscriptions of that period,
Kannada must have been spoken by a
widespread and stable population. The scholar K. V. Narayana
claims that many tribal languages which are now designated as Kannada
dialects could be nearer to the earlier form of the language, with
lesser influence from other languages.
Sanskrit and Prakrit
The sources of influence on literary
Kannada grammar appear to be
three-fold: Pāṇini's grammar, non-Paninian schools of Sanskrit
grammar, particularly Katantra and Sakatayana schools, and Prakrit
Prakrit seems to have prevailed in Karnataka
since ancient times. The vernacular
Prakrit speaking people may have
come into contact with
Kannada speakers, thus influencing their
language, even before
Kannada was used for administrative or
Kannada phonetics, morphology, vocabulary,
grammar and syntax show significant influence from these
Some examples of naturalised (tadbhava) words of
Prakrit origin in
Kannada are: baṇṇa (color) derived from vaṇṇa, hunnime (full
moon) from puṇṇivā. Examples of naturalized
Sanskrit words in
Kannada are: varṇa (color), arasu (king) from rajan, paurṇimā,
and rāya from rāja (king).
Kannada has numerous borrowed (tatsama) words such as dina (day), kopa
(anger), surya (sun), mukha (face), nimiṣa (minute) and anna
Halmidi inscription, Kappe Arabhatta, Shravanabelagola
inscription of Nandisena, Tyagada Brahmadeva Pillar, Atakur
inscription, Doddahundi nishidhi inscription, and List of people
associated with the study of
Halmidi inscription at
Halmidi village, in old-Kannada, is usually
dated to AD 450 (Kadamba Dynasty)
Kannada inscription dated AD 578 (Badami Chalukya dynasty),
outside Badami cave no.3
Kannada inscription of c. AD 726, discovered in Talakad, from the
rule of King Shivamara I or Sripurusha (Western Ganga Dynasty)
Kannada inscription of the 9th century (Rashtrakuta Dynasty) at
Durga Devi temple in Hampi, Karnataka
Atakur inscription (AD 949) from Mandya district, a
Kannada composition in two parts; a fight between a hound
and a wild boar, and the victory of the
Rashtrakutas over the Chola
dynasty in the famous battle of Takkolam
Old Kannada inscription dated 1057 A.D. of Western Chalukya King
Someshvara I at
Kalleshwara Temple, Hire Hadagali
Kalleshwara Temple, Hire Hadagali in Bellary district
Kannada inscription ascribed to King
Vikramaditya VI (Western
Chalukya Empire), dated AD 1112, at the Mahadeva Temple in Itagi,
Koppal district of
Kannada inscription of AD 1220 (Hoysala Empire) at Ishwara temple
of Arasikere town in the Hassan district
Kannada inscription dated 1509 A.D., of King Krishnadevaraya
(Vijayanagara Empire), at the Virupaksha temple in
Hampi describes his
Kannada inscription dated 1654 A.D., at Yelandur with exquisite relief
Kannada (or Purava HaleGannada) was the
Banavasi in the early Common Era, the Satavahana, Chutu
Satakarni (Naga) and Kadamba periods and thus has a history of over
2500 years. The
Ashoka rock edict
Ashoka rock edict found at
Brahmagiri (dated to 230 BCE) has been suggested to contain words in
identifiable Kannada. According to Jain tradition, Brahmi, the
daughter of Rishabhadeva, the first Tirthankara of Jainism, invented
18 alphabets, including Kannada, which points to the antiquity of the
language. Supporting this tradition, an inscription of about the 9th
century CE, containing specimens of different alphabets, mostly
Dravidian, was discovered in a Jain temple in the Deogarh fort.
Greek dramatists of the 5th–4th century BCE were purportedly
familiar with the
Kannada country and language. This would show a far
more intimate contact of the Greeks with
Kannada culture than with
Indian culture elsewhere.
Kannada word Ooralli (lit in a village[clarification needed]) is
said to be written on a huge wall constructed in Alexandria in the 4th
century BCE as part of the remnants of 36,000 palm manuscripts that
had been burnt in an accidental fire in Alexander's time. The palm
manuscripts contained texts written not only in Greek, Latin and
Hebrew, but also in
Sanskrit and Kannada.
In the 150 CE
Prakrit book Gaathaa Saptashati, written by Haala Raja,
Kannada words like tIr or Teer (meaning to be able), tuppa, peTTu,
poTTu, poTTa, piTTu (meaning to strike), Pode (Hode) have been used.
On the Pallava
Prakrit inscription of 250 CE of Hire Hadagali's
Kannada word kOTe transforms into koTTa. In the
350 CE Chandravalli
Prakrit inscription, words of
Kannada origin like
punaaTa, puNaDa have been used. In one more
Prakrit inscription of 250
CE found in Malavalli,
Kannada towns like vEgooraM (bEgooru),
kundamuchchaMDi find a reference.
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 CE) was a naval and army commander in the
early Roman Empire. He writes about pirates between Muziris and
Nitrias (Netravati River). He also mentions Barace (Barcelore).
Nitrias of Pliny and Nitran of
Ptolemy refer to the Netravati River as
also[clarification needed] the modern port city of Mangaluru, upon its
mouth. Many of these are
Kannada origin names of places and rivers of
Karnataka coast of 1st century CE.
The Greek geographer
Ptolemy (150 CE) mentions places such as
Badiamaioi (Badami), Inde (Indi), Kalligeris (Kalkeri), Modogoulla
(Mudagal), Petrigala (Pattadakal), Hippokoura (Huvina Hipparagi),
Nagarouris (Nagur), Tabaso (Tavasi), Tiripangalida (Gadahinglai),
Soubouttou or Sabatha (Savadi), Banaouase (Banavasi), Thogorum
(Tagara), Biathana (Paithan), Sirimalaga (Malkhed), Aloe(Ellapur) and
Pasage (Palasige) indicating prosperous trade between Egypt, Europe
and Karnataka. He also mentions Pounnata (Punnata) and refers to
beryls, i.e., the Vaidhurya gems of that country. He mentions
Malippala (Malpe) a coastal town of Karnataka. In this work Larika and
Kandaloi are identified as Rastrika and Kuntala.
Ptolemy writes in the
midst of the false mouth and the Barios, there is a city called
Maganur (Mangalore). He mentions of inland centres of pirates called
Oloikhora (Alavakheda). He mentions Ariake Sadinon meaning Aryaka
Satakarni and Baithana as capital of Siro(e) P(t)olmaios, i.e., Sri
Pulimayi clearly indicating his knowledge of the
Satavahana kings. The
word Pulimayi means One with body of Tiger in Kannada, which bears
testimony to the possible
Kannada origin of
A possibly more definite reference to
Kannada is found in the
'Charition Mime' ascribed to the late 1st to early 2nd century
CE. The farce, written by an unknown author, is concerned with
a Greek lady named Charition who has been stranded on the coast of a
country bordering the Indian Ocean. The king of this region, and his
countrymen, sometimes use their own language, and the sentences they
speak could be interpreted as Kannada, including Koncha madhu patrakke
haki ("Having poured a little wine into the cup separately") and
paanam beretti katti madhuvam ber ettuvenu ("Having taken up the cup
separately and having covered it, I shall take wine separately.").
The language employed in the papyrus indicates that the play is set in
one of the numerous small ports on the western coast of India, between
Karwar and Kanhangad.
The earliest examples of a full-length
Kannada language stone
inscription (shilaashaasana) containing
Brahmi characters with
characteristics attributed to those of proto-
Kannada in Hale Kannada
(lit Old Kannada) script can be found in the
usually dated c. AD 450, indicating that
Kannada had become an
administrative language at that time. The
Halmidi inscription provides
invaluable information about the history and culture of
Karnataka. The 5th century Tamatekallu inscription of
Chitradurga and the
Chikkamagaluru inscription of 500 AD are further
examples. Recent reports indicate that the Old Kannada
Nishadi inscription discovered on the Chandragiri hill,
Shravanabelagola, is older than
Halmidi inscription by about fifty to
hundred years and may belong to the period AD 350–400. The noted
archaeologist and art historian S. Shettar is of the opinion that an
inscription of the Western Ganga King Kongunivarma Madhava (c.
350–370) found at Tagarthi (Tyagarthi) in Shikaripura taluk of
Shimoga district is of 350 CE and is also older than the Halmidi
Current estimates of the total number of existing epigraphs written in
Kannada range from 25,000 by the scholar
Sheldon Pollock to over
30,000 by the Amaresh Datta of the Sahitya Akademi. Prior to
Halmidi inscription, there is an abundance of inscriptions
Kannada words, phrases and sentences, proving its
antiquity. The 543 AD Badami cliff inscription of
Pulakesi I is an
example of a
Sanskrit inscription in old
Kannada inscriptions are not only discovered in
Karnataka but also
quite commonly in
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,
Maharashtra and Tamil
Nadu. Some inscriptions were also found in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Northern most
Kannada inscription of the
Rashtrakutas of 964 CE is
the Jura record found near Jabalpur in present-day Madhya Pradesh,
belonging to the reign of Krishna III. This indicates the spread of
the influence of the language over the ages, especially during the
rule of large
Kannada empires. Pyu sites of Myanmar yielded
variety of Indian scripts including those written in a script
especially archaic, most resembling the Kadamba (Kannada-speaking
Kadambas of 4th century CE
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) form of
common Kannada-Telugu script from Andhra Pradesh.
The earliest copper plates inscribed in
Old Kannada script and
language, dated to the early 8th century AD, are associated with Alupa
King Aluvarasa II from Belmannu (the
Dakshina Kannada district), and
display the double crested fish, his royal emblem. The oldest
well-preserved palm leaf manuscript in
Old Kannada is that of Dhavala.
It dates to around the 9th century and is preserved in the Jain
Dakshina Kannada district. The manuscript
contains 1478 leaves written using ink.
Kadamba Dynasty coins bearing the
Kannada inscription Vira
and Skandha were found in Satara collectorate. A gold coin bearing
three inscriptions of Sri and an abbreviated inscription of king
Bhagiratha's name called bhagi (c. AD 390–420) in old Kannada
exists. A Kadamba copper coin dated to the 5th century AD with the
inscription Srimanaragi in
Kannada script was discovered in Banavasi,
Kannada district. Coins with
Kannada legends have been
discovered spanning the rule of the Western Ganga Dynasty, the Badami
Chalukyas, the Alupas, the Western Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the
Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar Empire, the
Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi, the
Keladi Nayakas and the
Mysore Kingdom, the Badami Chalukya coins being
a recent discovery. The coins of the
unique in that they have alternate inscription of the king's name in
Kannada and Devanagari in triplicate, a few coins of the Kadambas
Hangal are also available.
Kannada literature, List of important milestones in
Kannada literature, and List of notable epics in the
Main articles: Rashtrakuta literature, Western Ganga literature,
Kannada literature in the Western Chalukya Empire, and Hoysala
The oldest existing record of
Kannada poetry in Tripadi metre is the
Kappe Arabhatta record of AD 700.
Kavirajamarga by King Nripatunga
Amoghavarsha I (AD 850) is the earliest existing literary work in
Kannada. It is a writing on literary criticism and poetics meant to
standardise various written
Kannada dialects used in literature in
previous centuries. The book makes reference to
Kannada works by early
writers such as King
Durvinita of the 6th century and Ravikirti, the
author of the Aihole record of 636 AD. Since the earliest
Kannada work is one on grammar and a guide of sorts to unify
existing variants of
Kannada grammar and literary styles, it can be
safely assumed that literature in
Kannada must have started several
centuries earlier. An early extant prose work, the
Shivakotiacharya of AD 900 provides an elaborate
description of the life of Bhadrabahu of Shravanabelagola.
Kannada works from earlier centuries mentioned in the Kavirajamarga
are not yet traced. Some ancient texts now considered extinct but
referenced in later centuries are Prabhrita (AD 650) by
Syamakundacharya, Chudamani (Crest Jewel—AD 650) by Srivaradhadeva,
also known as Tumbuluracharya, which is a work of 96,000
verse-measures and a commentary on logic
(Tatwartha-mahashastra). Other sources date Chudamani to
the 6th century or earlier. The Karnateshwara Katha, a eulogy
for King Pulakesi II, is said to have belonged to the 7th century; the
Gajastaka, a work on elephant management by King Shivamara II,
belonged to the 8th century, and the Chandraprabha-purana by Sri
Vijaya, a court poet of King
Amoghavarsha I, is ascribed to the early
9th century. Tamil Buddhist commentators of the 10th century AD
(in the commentary on Nemrinatham, a Tamil grammatical work) make
references that show that
Kannada literature must have flourished as
early as the AD 4th century.
Around the beginning of the 9th century,
Old Kannada was spoken from
Kaveri to Godavari. The
Kannada spoken between the rivers
Malaprabha was the pure well of
The late classical period gave birth to several genres of Kannada
literature, with new forms of composition coming into use, including
Ragale (a form of blank verse) and meters like Sangatya and Shatpadi.
The works of this period are based on Jain and Hindu principles. Two
of the early writers of this period are Harihara and Raghavanka,
trailblazers in their own right. Harihara established the Ragale form
of composition while
Raghavanka popularised the Shatpadi (six-lined
stanza) meter. A famous Jaina writer of the same period is Janna,
who expressed Jain religious teachings through his works.
Vachana Sahitya tradition of the 12th century is purely native and
unique in world literature, and the sum of contributions by all
sections of society. Vachanas were pithy poems on that period's
social, religious and economic conditions. More importantly, they held
a mirror to the seed of social revolution, which caused a radical
re-examination of the ideas of caste, creed and religion. Some of the
important writers of
Vachana literature include Basavanna, Allama
Prabhu and Akka Mahadevi.
Amoghavarsha I of 850 CE recognised that the
Sanskrit style of
Kannada literature was Margi (formal or written form
of language) and Desi (folk or spoken form of language) style was
popular and made his people aware of the strength and beauty of their
native language Kannada. In 1112 CE, Jain poet Nayasena of Mulugunda,
Dharwad district, in his Champu work Dharmamrita, a book on morals,
warns writers from mixing
Sanskrit by comparing it with
mixing of clarified butter and oil. He has written it using very
Sanskrit words which fit with idiomatic Kannada. In 1235 CE,
Jain poet Andayya, wrote Kabbigara Kava (Poet's Defender), also called
Sobagina Suggi (Harvest of Beauty) or Madana-Vijaya and Kavana-Gella
(Cupid's Conquest), a Champu work in pure
Kannada using only
Kannada words and the derived form of Sanskrit
words – tadbhavas, without the admixture of
Sanskrit words. He
succeeded in his challenge and proved wrong those who had advocated
that it was impossible to write a work in
Kannada without using
Sanskrit words. Andayya may be considered as a protector of Kannada
poets who were ridiculed by
Sanskrit advocates. Thus
Kannada is the
Dravidian language which is not only capable of using only native
Kannada words and grammar in its literature (like Tamil), but also use
Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary (like Telugu, Malayalam, Tulu, etc.)
The Champu style of literature of mixing poetry with prose owes its
origins to the
Kannada language which was later incorporated by poets
Sanskrit and other Indian languages.
Kannada literature in Vijayanagara empire and
Literature of the Kingdom of Mysore
During the period between the 15th and 18th centuries,
Hinduism had a
great influence on Middle
Kannada (Nadugannada) language and
literature. Kumara Vyasa, who wrote the Karnata Bharata Kathamanjari,
was arguably the most influential
Kannada writer of this period. His
work, entirely composed in the native Bhamini Shatpadi (hexa-meter),
is a sublime adaptation of the first ten books of the Mahabharata.
During this period, the Sanskritic influence is present in most
abstract, religious, scientific and rhetorical terms.
During this period, several
Hindi and Marathi words came into Kannada,
chiefly relating to feudalism and militia.
Hindu saints of the
Vaishnava sect such as Kanakadasa, Purandaradasa,
Naraharitirtha, Vyasatirtha, Sripadaraya, Vadirajatirtha, Vijaya Dasa,
Jagannatha Dasa, Prasanna Venkatadasa produced devotional poems in
this period. Kanakadasa's Ramadhanya Charite is a rare work,
concerning with the issue of class struggle. This period saw the
Haridasa Sahitya (lit Dasa literature) which made rich
Bhakti literature and sowed the seeds of Carnatic
music. Purandara Dasa is widely considered the Father of Carnatic
Main articles: Modern
Kannada literature and
Kannada works produced from the 19th century make a gradual
transition and are classified as Hosagannada or Modern Kannada. Most
notable among the modernists was the poet Nandalike Muddana whose
writing may be described as the "Dawn of Modern Kannada", though
generally, linguists treat Indira Bai or Saddharma Vijayavu by Gulvadi
Venkata Raya as the first literary works in Modern Kannada. The first
modern movable type printing of "Canarese" appears to be the Canarese
Grammar of Carey printed at
Serampore in 1817, and the "Bible in
John Hands in 1820. The first novel printed was John
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, along with other texts including Canarese
Proverbs, The History of Little Henry and his Bearer by Mary Martha
Sherwood, Christian Gottlob Barth's Bible Stories and "a Canarese hymn
Kannada in the 20th century has been influenced by many
movements, notably Navodaya, Navya, Navyottara, Dalita and Bandaya.
Kannada literature has been highly successful in reaching
people of all classes in society. Further,
Kannada has produced a
number of prolific and renowned poets and writers such as Kuvempu,
Bendre, and V K Gokak. Works of
Kannada literature have received eight
Jnanpith awards, the highest number awarded to any Indian
Kannada was patronized by many
Kannada Kingdoms. The Kadambas
 are considered the earliest indigenous rulers to use
an administrative language. That period saw one of the first writings
of Kannada. It further got boost from Chalukya dynasty, under whom
Kannada began to grow. Even though literary works of this time have
been lost, there are references of great writers and poets having
lived in this kingdom and wrote in
Kannada as stated in
Next came the Rashtrakuta Empire, wherein several well known kannada
works were written.
Vikramarjuna Vijaya by Pampa,
Shivakotiacharya are few
examples. Later, Western
Hoysalas continued the
tradition of Royal patronage of
Kannada writers. These
were secular in thinking and writings. For Example, the great Kannada
writer Pampa was a Jain but wrote on Hindu epics.
With the arrival Vijayanagara Empire, the
Bhakti movement peaked with
its style and transformed the way
Kannada literature was written. This
literary movement started under Western
Chalukyas as a tool of social
reformation in the form of
Vachana Sahitya and continued until late
16th century under
Vijayanagara Empire which is typically known for
Dasa Sahithya. Instead of writing with strict rules which was
inherited from Sanskrit, this movement's writers wrote in common
people language and quickly gained prominence. This was the golden
Kannada literature in being able to reach large sections of
common folks with its simple and serene prose and poetry.
Kannada Kingdoms too enriched the
with their zeal and love for the land's language. Each kingdom
provided their contribution in an unique way, for example, in
Rashtrakuta Empire, the literature was heavily influenced by Sanskrit.
But in Kalachuri kingdom, the vachana literature was subtle. It is a
true testament to the determination of these glorious kingdoms and its
writers to proliferate the kannada words on stones and scrolls, that
Kannada is among the reputed languages in the world with its
beautiful and rich literature.
It is to be noted that
Kannada Kings were not only patronage of
Kannada but of other languages as well. For example under Vijayanagar
and Eastern ChalukyasEastern Chalukyas#Connection between
Telugu literature empires, Telugu got its royal patronage along with
Goa patronized Konkani along with kannada, tamil
was used in tamil areas under Rashtrakuta empire along with
kannada. This shows how kannada kings respected other sister
Kannada instead of forcing kannada on non-kannada
speaking people over which they were ruling.
Areas of influence
Besides being the official and administrative language of the state of
Kannada language is present in other areas:
Kannadigas form Tamil Nadu's 3rd biggest linguistic group and add up
to about 1.23 million which is 2.2% of Tamil Nadu's total
Kannadigas account for 3% of Mumbai's population of 12 million as of
1991, which is 360,000.
As of 2001, there were 1.26 million
Kannada speakers in Maharashtra,
1.3% of its population.
Kannada is the third-most spoken language in Hyderabad and is spoken
by 677,245 people in Andhra Pradesh, some 0.8% of its total
Kannada speakers in
Kerala numbered 325,571 which is 1.2% of its
population as of 2001.
Goa has 7%
Kannada speakers which accounts for 94,360 Kannadigas.
There are 43
Kannadigas on the
Lakshadweep islands. Amindivi islands
were formerly a part of undivided
Dakshina Kannada district. The
Malayalam spoken by people of
Lakshadweep has many Kannada
New Delhi has approximately 11,027
Kannada speakers or less
than 100,000 according to a different source.
As on 2001, Gujarat had 15,202
Kannada speakers; Madhya Pradesh had
6,039; Rajasthan had 5,651; Punjab had 4,872; Jammu & Kashmir had
4,058; Assam had 2,666; Haryana had 2,115; Chhattisgarh had 2,084;
Pondicherry had 1,177; Uttarakhand had 849; Dadra & Nagar Haveli
had 728; Tripura had 640; Himachal Pradesh had 608; Arunachal Pradesh
had 549; Chandigarh had 451; Nagaland had 398; Daman & Diu had
396; Andaman & Nicobar Islands had 321; Manipur had 239; Meghalaya
had 232; Mizoram had 178 and Sikkim had 162. The states of Uttar
Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha had not properly
Kannada speakers in the census.
There are about 150,000
Kannadigas in North America (USA and
Gulf countries of Middle-East, UK and Australia have minority numbers
There is also a considerable difference 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 consistent throughout
Ethnologue reports "about 20 dialects" of Kannada.
Among them are
Kundagannada (spoken exclusively in Kundapura),
Kannada (spoken by Nadavaru),
Havigannada (spoken mainly by
Are Bhashe (spoken by Gowda community mainly in
Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada), Malenadu Kannada
(Sakaleshpur, Coorg, Shimoga, Chikmagalur), Sholaga, Gulbarga Kannada,
Kannada etc. All of these dialects are influenced by their
regional and cultural background. The one million Komarpants in and
Goa speak their own dialect of Kannada, known as Halegannada.
They are settled in each and every village spread across
Uttara Kannada district
Uttara Kannada district and Khanapur taluk of Belagavi
district, Karnataka. The Halakki Vokkaligas of Uttara
Kannada, Shimoga and
Dakshina Kannada districts of
Karnataka speak in
their own dialect of
Kannada called Halakki
Kannada or Achchagannada.
Their population estimate is about 75,000.
Ethnologue also classifies a group of four languages related to
Kannada, which are, besides
Kannada proper, Badaga, Holiya, Kurumba
Nasik district of
Maharashtra has a distinct tribe called 'Hatkar
Kaanadi' people who speak a
Kannada (Kaanadi) dialect with lot of old
Kannada words. Per Chidananda Murthy, they are the native people of
Nasik from ancient times which shows that North Maharashtra's Nasik
Kannada population 1000 years ago.  Kannada
speakers formed 0.12% of Nasik district's population as per 1961
R. Narasimhacharya considers Tulu, Kodava, Toda, Kota, Badaga and
Kannada dialects due to their closeness to Kannada.
The Director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Udaya
Narayana Singh, submitted a report in 2006 to the Indian government
Kannada to be made a classical language of India. In
2008 the Indian government announced that
Kannada was to be designated
as one of the classical languages of India.
Kannada alphabet and
The language uses forty-nine phonemic letters, divided into three
groups: swaragalu (vowels – thirteen letters); vyanjanagalu
(consonants – thirty-four letters); and yogavaahakagalu (neither
vowel nor consonant – two letters: anusvara ಂ and visarga ಃ).
The character set is almost identical to that of other Indian
Kannada script is almost perfectly phonetic, but for
the sound of a "half n" (which becomes a half m). The number of
written symbols, however, is far more than the forty-nine characters
in the alphabet, because different characters can be combined to form
compound characters (ottakshara). Each written symbol in the Kannada
script corresponds with one syllable, as opposed to one phoneme in
languages like English. The
Kannada script is syllabic.
Historical form of representing ನ್ in
Kannada literary works employed the letters ಱ (transliterated 'ṟ'
or 'rh') and ೞ (transliterated 'ḻ', 'lh' or 'zh'), whose manner of
articulation most plausibly could be akin to those in present-day
Malayalam and Tamil. The letters dropped out of use in the 12th and
18th centuries, respectively. Later
Kannada works replaced 'rh' and
'lh' with ರ (ra) and ಳ (la) respectively.
Another letter (or unclassified vyanjana (consonant)) that has become
extinct is 'nh' or 'inn'. Likewise, this has its equivalent in
Telugu, where it is called Nakaara pollu. The usage of this consonant
was observed until the 1980s in
Kannada works from the mostly coastal
Karnataka (especially the
Dakshina Kannada district). Now,
hardly any mainstream works use this consonant. This letter has been
replaced by ನ್ (consonant n).
Kannada script evolution
The image below shows the evolution of
Kannada script from
prehistoric times to the modern period. The
Kannada script evolved in
Kannada → Pre–
Old Kannada →
Old Kannada → Modern
Kannada script has its root in ancient
Brahmi and appeared
around the 3rd century BC. The Pre-Old-
Kannada script appeared around
the 4th century AD. Old-
Kannada script can be traced to around the
10th century AD, whereas Modern-
Kannada script appeared around the
17th century AD.
Kannada dictionary has existed in
Kannada along with ancient
Kannada grammar. The oldest available
Kannada dictionary was
composed by the poet 'Ranna' called 'Ranna Kanda' in 996 ACE. Other
dictionaries are 'Abhidhana Vastukosha' by Nagavarma (1045 ACE),
'Amarakoshada Teeku' by Vittala (1300), 'Abhinavaabhidaana' by
Abhinava Mangaraja (1398 ACE) and many more. A Kannada–English
dictionary consisting of more than 70,000 words was composed by
G. Venkatasubbaiah edited the first modern Kannada–Kannada
dictionary, a 9,000-page, 8-volume series published by the Kannada
Sahitya Parishat. He also wrote a Kannada–English dictionary and a
kliṣtapadakōśa, a dictionary of difficult words.
Kannada script in computing
Several transliteration schemes/tools are used to type Kannada
characters using a standard keyboard. These include Baraha (based
on ITRANS), Pada Software and several internet tools like Google
transliteration, Quillpad (predictive transliterator). Nudi, the
Government of Karnataka's standard for
Kannada Input, is a phonetic
layout loosely based on transliteration.
Kannada (Unicode block)
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
1.^ As of Unicode version 10.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points
The canonical word order of
Kannada is SOV (subject–object–verb)
as is the case with Dravidian languages.
Kannada is a highly inflected
language with three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter or
common) and two numbers (singular and plural). It is inflected for
gender, number and tense, among other things. The most authoritative
known book on old
Kannada grammar is
Shabdhamanidarpana by Keshiraja.
The first available
Kannada book, a treatise on poetics, rhetoric and
basic grammar is the
Kavirajamarga from 850 C.E.
The most influential account of
Kannada grammar is Keshiraja's
Shabdamanidarpana (c. AD 1260). The earlier grammatical
works include portions of
Kavirajamarga (a treatise on alańkāra) of
the 9th century, and Kavyavalokana and Karnatakabhashabhushana (both
Nagavarma II in the first half of the 12th century).
Compound bases, called samāsa in Kannada, are a set of two or more
words compounded together. There are several types of compound
bases, based on the rules followed for compounding.[clarification
needed] Examples: taṅgāḷi, hemmara, kannusanne.
In many ways the third-person pronouns are more like demonstratives
than like the other pronouns. They are pluralized like nouns and
whereas the first- and second-person pronouns have different ways to
Kannada in computing
Cinema of Karnataka
Kannada radio channels
Karnataka History Timeline
List of Indian languages by total speakers
Garg, Ganga Ram (1992) . "
Kannada literature". Encyclopaedia of
the Hindu World: A-Aj, Volume 1. New Delhi: Concept Publishing
Company. ISBN 81-7022-374-1.
Kuiper, Kathleen, ed. (2011). "Dravidian Studies: Kannada".
Understanding India-The Culture of India. New York: Britannica
educational Printing. ISBN 978-1-61530-203-1.
Steever, S. B. (1998). "Kannada". In Steever, S. B. (ed.). The
Dravidian Languages (Routledge Language Family Descriptions). London:
Routledge. Pp. 436. pp. 129–157.
ISBN 0-415-10023-2. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list
Kloss and McConnell, Heinz and Grant D. (1978). The Written languages
of the world: a survey of the degree and modes of use-vol 2 part1.
Université Laval. ISBN 2-7637-7186-6.
Narasimhacharya, R (1988) . History of
Kannada Literature. New
Delhi, Madras: Asian Educational Services.
Narasimhacharya, R. (1934) History of
Kannada Language. University of
Rice, E.P. (1982) .
Kannada Literature. New Delhi: Asian
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Rice, B.L. (2001) .
Mysore Gazetteer Compiled for Government-vol
1. New Delhi, Madras: Asian Educational Services.
Kamath, Suryanath U. (2002) . A concise history of Karnata.k.a.
from pre-historic times to the present. Bangalore: Jupiter books.
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Various (1988) . Encyclopaedia of Indian literature-vol 2.
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Chalukyas of Vatapi. New Delhi: Agam Kala
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^ Zvelebil (fig. 36) and Krishnamurthy (fig. 37) in Shapiro and
Schiffman (1981), pp. 95–96
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^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
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^ Schwartzberg, Joseph E. (1978). "Currency of Selected Languages and
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^ Zvelebil (1973), p. 7 (Introductory, chart)
^ Garg (1992), p. 67
^ a b Kuiper (2011), p. 74
^ a b R Zydenbos in Cushman S, Cavanagh C, Ramazani J, Rouzer P, The
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^ a b Mythic Society (Bangalore, India) (1985). The quarterly journal
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^ B. K. Khadabadi; Prākr̥ta Bhāratī Akādamī (1997). Studies in
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51 papers Volume 116 of
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^ Jha, Ganganatha (1976). Journal of the Ganganatha Jha Kendriya
Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Volume 32. Ganganatha Jha Kendriya Sanskrit
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^ K R, Subramanian (2002). Origin of Saivism and Its History in the
Tamil Land. Asian Educational Services. p. 11.
^ Kamath (2001), p. 5–6
^ Wilks in Rice, B.L. (1897), p490
^ Shashidhar, Dr. Melkunde (2016). A HISTORY OF FREEDOM AND
UNIFICATION MOVEMENT IN KARNATAKA. United States: Lulu publication.
p. 7. ISBN 978-1-329-82501-7.
^ Pai and Narasimhachar in Bhat (1993), p103
^ Sen, Sailendra Nath (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization.
India: New Age International. p. 360.
^ The word Isila found in the Ashokan inscription (called the
Brahmagiri edict from Karnataka) meaning to shoot an arrow, is a
Kannada word, indicating that
Kannada was a spoken language in the 3rd
century BCE (D.L. Narasimhachar in Kamath 2001, p5)
^ R, Narasimhacharya (1942). The Buddha-Dhamma, Or, the Life and
Teachings of the Buddha, History of
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^ Appadurai, Sri K. (1997). "THE PLACE OF KANNADA AND TAMIL in INDIA'S
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^ Warmington, E. H. (1928). The Commerce between the Roman Empire and
India. Cambridge University Press, 2014. pp. 112–113.
^ "Story of Kannadiga,
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^ A. Smith, Vincent; Williams Jackson, A. V. (1 January 2008). History
of India, in Nine Volumes: Vol. II – From the Sixth Century B.C. to
the Mohammedan Conquest, Including the Invasion of Alexander the
Great. Cosimo, Inc., 2008. pp. 193–196.
^ Suryanatha Kamath –
Karnataka State Gazetteer – South Kanara
(1973), Printed by the Director of Print, Stationery and Publications
at the Govt. Press
^ Manohar Laxman Varadpande – History of Indian theatre, Volume 3
(1987), Abhinav Publications, New Delhi.
^ a b D. R. Bhandarkar – Lectures on the Ancient History of
the Period From 650 To 320 B.C. (1919), University of Calcutta.
^ Ramesh (1984), p10
^ Encyclopaedia of Indian literature vol. 2,
Sahitya Akademi (1988),
p1717, p 1474
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^ Kamath (2001), p10
^ Narasimhacharya (1988), p6
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Govinda Pai in Bhat (1993), p102
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^ "HALMIDI INSCRIPTION". Centre for classical Kannada. Central
Institute for Indian Languages. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
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^ Datta, Amaresh; Encyclopaedia of Indian literature – vol 2,
p.1717, 1988, Sahitya Akademi, ISBN 81-260-1194-7
Sheldon Pollock in Dehejia, Vidya; The Body Adorned: Sacred and
Profane in Indian Art, p.5, chapter:The body as Leitmotif, 2013,
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^ Azmathulla Shariff. "Badami: Chalukyans' magical transformation".
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^ Kamath (2001), p83
^ Sircar 1965. pp. 202–4.
^ Luce 1985. pp. 62, n.16.
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past". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 22 October 2006.
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^ The coins are preserved at the Archaeological Section, Prince of
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Moraes (1931), p382
^ The coin is preserved at the Indian Historical Research Institute,
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(1938), p 382
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^ Harihariah Oruganti-Vice-President; Madras Coin Society.
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^ This shows that the native vernacular of the
Kannada – Moraes (1931), p384
^ Two coins of the
Kadambas are preserved at the Royal Asiatic
Society, Mumbai, one with the
Kannada inscription Saarvadhari and
other with Nakara. Moraes (1931), p385
^ Kamath (2001), p67
^ a b Sastri (1955), p355
^ Kamath (2001), p90
^ Jyotsna Kamat. "History of the
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^ Sastri (1955), p356
^ The seventeenth-century
Kannada grammarian Bhattakalanka wrote about
the Chudamani as a milestone in the literature of the
(Sastri (1955), p355)
^ Jyotsna Kamat. "History of the
Kannada Literature – I". Kamat's
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Ganges from the tip of his top knot (Rice E.P., 1921,
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Durgasimha of AD 1025 (Narasimhacharya 1988, p18.)
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^ Datta, Amaresh. "Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo".
Sahitya Akademi, 1987. ISBN 9788126018031.
^ Hari Saravanan, V. "Gods, Heroes and their Story Tellers: Intangible
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^ Rice, Edward P. (1982). A History of
Kannada Literature. Asian
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^ Sastri (1955), p364
^ "Literature in all
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^ Takahashi, Takanobu. 1995. Tamil love poetry and poetics. Brill's
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^ "The author endeavours to demonstrate that the entire Sangam poetic
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Sanskrit poetry"-Tieken, Herman
Joseph Hugo. 2001. Kāvya in South India: old Tamil Caṅkam poetry.
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^ J. Bucher;
Ferdinand Kittel (1899). A Kannaḍa-English
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^ Sastri (1955), pp 364–365
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the staple foods of much of modern
Karnataka (Sastri 1955, p365)
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Mysore – Page 90
Mysore – 1864
"There is no authentic record of the casting of the first Early
Canarese printing. Canarese type, but a Canarese Grammar by Carey
Serampore in 1817 is extant. About the same time a
translation of the Scriptures was printed
^ Missions in south
India – Page 56 Joseph Mullens – 1854 "Among
those of the former are tracts on Caste, on the Hindu gods; Canarese
Proverbs; Henry and his Bearer; the Pilgrim's Progress; Barth's Bible
Stories; a Canarese hymn book"
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Halmidi village finally on the road to recognition, Muralidhara
Khajane". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 3 November 2003. Retrieved 25
Kannada a classical language, Staff reporter". The Hindu.
Chennai, India. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
"The place of
Kannada and Tamil in Indias National Culture". Archived
from the original on 15 April 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
"History of the
Kannada Literature (by Jyotsna Kamat)". Retrieved 25
"Records and revelations, Indira Parathasarathy". Retrieved 25
"Ancient inscriptions unearthed, N. Havalaiah". The Hindu. Chennai,
India. 24 January 2004. Retrieved 25 November 2006.
"Indian inscriptions-South Indian inscriptions, Vol 20, 18, 17, 15, 11
and 9, Archaeological survey of India, What Is
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