Kannada is a Southern Dravidian language spoken mainly in the state of Karnataka in the southwest of India. There are also Kannada speakers in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Goa and Kerala, and in the USA, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In 2011 there were about 56.4 million speakers of Kannada, including 43 million native speakers.
Kannada is the official and administrative language of Karnataka, and was officially designated a classical language of India in 2011. It is also known as Banglori, Canarese, Havyaka or Kanarese.
Kannada first appeared in writing as words in Tamil inscriptions dating from the 3rd-1st centuries BC. The earliest known texts in Old Kannada were written in the Brahmi script and are dated at 450 AD. Poetry in Kannada started to appear in 700 AD, and literary works from 850 AD.
From the 14th century Kannada was sometimes written with the Tigalari alphabet, which developed in the 12th century in Karnataka.
The Kannada alphabet (ಕನ್ನಡ ಲಿಪಿ) developed from the Kadamba and Cālukya scripts, descendents of Brahmi, which were used between the 5th and 7th centuries AD. These scripts developed into the Old Kannada script, which by about 1500 had morphed into the Kannada and Telugu scripts. Under the influence of Christian missionary organizations, Kannada and Telugu scripts were standardized at the beginning of the 19th century.
How to write and pronounced Kannada letters
Ellā mānavarū svatantrarāgiyē janisiddāre. Hāgū ghanate mattu hakku gaḷalli samānarāgiddāre. Vivēka mattu antaḥkaraṇagaḷannu paḍedavarāddarinda avaru paraspara sahōdara bhāvadinda vartisabēku.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason
and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Thanks to Arvind Iyengar for providing the sample text.
Information about the Kannada alphabet
Online Kannada lessons
Free Kannada fonts
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Page last modified: 10.08.21
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