Karnataka, the land of Kannada has a geographical area of 191,791 sq km and is the 8th largest state in India by area. The literary form of Kannada is fairly uniform through out the state; where as the colloquial form is quite vibrant and has many variations. The variation is also due to the geographical factors.


There are at least 20 distinct dialects spoken in various parts of the state. The major regional dialects are 1) Mysore Kannada – spoken mainly in south Karnataka,

2) Hubli/ Dharwad Kannada – spoken mainly in north Karnataka,

3) Mangalore/ Karaavali Kannada – spoken in the coastal areas.

These major regional dialects have other variant dialects within themselves! Kodava, Badaga Urali, Holiya, Kunda, Sanketi, Havyaka, Bellary, Bangalore, Gulbarga, Are Bhashe, Soliga, Nadavara, Belagaavi are some of the different dialects. Not only these variant forms are very much different from each other by their accent and style, a same word could have different meanings in two or more of them. For instance Shira is the name of a sweet dish made in Dharwad region, the same word is understood as head in Mysore region. Bhootaayi is the name of a popular fish in Mangalore area; the same is understood as Mother Earth in other parts of the state. Bonda in Mangalore region is Tender coconut, the same name is given to a popular snack made of chilies and gram dough in other parts. Many such variations can be noticed in the usage of Kannada throughout the state.

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