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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