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.
Kannada is one of the oldest Dravidian languages and has an antiquity of not less than two thousand years. Kannada is one among the first 30 most spoken languages in the world; spoken mostly in the state of Karnataka, India and by more than 50 million speakers worldwide.
Kannada belongs to the Southern Dravidian Language family, usually the history of Kannada language can be divided into three main periods as follows.
1) Halegannada: meaning Proto-Kannada period ranging between the 6th and 11th centuries.
The Proto-Kannada period is preceded by the Pre-old Kannada dates back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Only some fragmented references could be made of this period and the recorded details are mostly obscure. Over 30000 inscriptions have been identified having old Kannada written on them, the earliest being the inscription by Kongunivarma of Ganga dynasty (about 250 AD) in the old Mysore region.The Halegannada period marks a beginning in about 450 AD; the reference could be made of Halmidi inscription where there is a citation of Kannada being used as an official language. Apart from rock inscriptions references could be made of copper plate inscriptions and inscriptions on coins. Amoghavarsha Nrupatunga, the famous Rastrakuta ruler’s Kavirajamarga (850 AD), the triplet metered poetic work of Kappe Aryabhata (700 AD), Vaddaradhane (900 AD) by Shivakotyacharya are the well known literary works of the period. Pampa, Ranna and Ponna are the major poets.
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