The Kannada script or the Kannada Lipi is basically derived from the ancient script of Brahmi.
There was an off-shoot from the original Brahmi script during the early 3rd century BC; this off-shoot gradually was developed as the script for Proto-Kannada. During the 4th century AD this script developed into the Kadamba script which again was derived as the Old Kannada script that existed till the 10th century AD. It is this Old Kannada script that is the mother of the modern day Kannada and Telugu scripts. So, it can be said that both Telugu and Kannada scripts have evolved from the same base of the ancient Brahmi script.
Kannada script is also used to write some of the other South Indian languages such as Kodava, Konkani and Tulu. Apart from the Devanagri script it is the script used to denote the second highest number of other languages. There is a historic evidence of Kannada being used in writing Badaga language of the Nilgiri region and also the Konkani in the Goa region where the script was named as Goykanadi. The present day Telugu script was derived from the Old Kannada script between the 11th and 14th century AD.
Linguists opine that there at least 5000 languages being used in different parts of the world, in India itself we find nearly about 1000 different languages. Some languages have a huge user base exceeding a hundred million while some others have only a few hundred speakers. A language cannot always be independent or remain static. Most of the flourishing languages of today have undergone drastic modifications during the course of their growth, have gained from their interaction with the other languages, have borrowed and lent words with other languages that have come into their contact and have stood the ravages of time. Such an interaction builds a relationship among the different languages.
Kannada too has a relationship with many of the languages that have come into an interaction with it. This relationship could be due to the three major factors as follow-
1. Geographical factors: Geographically Kannada speaking region is covered by regions speaking Marathi in the north, Tamil and Malayalam in the south, Telugu in the east and Konkani and Tulu in the west. People in these regions have to interact with each other in their daily activities and thus have influenced the languages of each other.
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Kannada is one of the oldest surviving languages in the world. It is the official and administrative language of Karnataka. This is the language primarily spoken in the state of Karnataka; its native speakers are called Kannadigas. The total speakers worldwide amounts to about 50 million in numbers, making it one among the top thirty most spoken languages in the world. It is one of the scheduled languages of India and one of the four officially recognized classical languages of India.
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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