Is it difficult to learn the Kannada Language? Why or Why not?
Kannada less commonly known as Kanarese is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in the southwestern region of India. The language is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Goa; and also by Kannadigas abroad. The language had roughly 43 million native speakers by 2011. Kannada is also spoken as a second and third language by over 12.9 million non-native speakers in Karnataka, which adds up to 56.9 million speakers. It is one of the scheduled languages of India and the official and administrative language of the state of Karnataka. Kannada was the court language of some of the most powerful empires of South and Central India, such as the Chalukya dynasty, the Rashtrakuta dynasty, the Vijayanagara Empire and the Hoysala Empire.
Kannada language is easy to learn but hard to master.
If you are not native to any Dravidian languages then you are on your way walking up the ‘Adult Language Learning Curve’.
Language learning as an adult can be a challenging task, but who doesn’t like challenges. Since you’ve already taken the first step – deciding to learn, let me congratulate you, to begin with, before I suggest you stick to it. There are several grades of language understanding from beginners to expert level.
You start with zero knowledge/ identification barely recognizing a few words, to scaling up one step at a time to reach a reasonable learning level. Please be sure you not only have your goal very clear in your mind but you have also identified your need to learn Kannada. Kindly be aware that as a learner you can reach very close to the expert level of Kannada, speaking, reading, writing quite a bit of Kannada independently on your own, however, please note like other languages mastery in a language which is not your native, is just a fiction and not the reality. Many native speakers of Kannada language struggle to master the language their lifetime and some use it only for the spoken part of Kannada.
From a practical point of view, start building your vocabulary phrases, expressions, similes and metaphors, fillers, conversation connectors and questions used in the colloquial language or in day to day usage. Learn to ask questions like – How much does this cost, When will the bus come. Learn – How much, What, When, Where and all the variations. Notice I didn’t say – Why. You do not use it as much. Learn the idioms of the language. Learn how native speakers use certain words and copy them. If you learn some of it, you are already past you will soon be past the beginner level and be ready to start from Advanced beginner level.
If you are a native Dravidian language speaker it would be much easier for you to pick up Kannada, than someone who does not know any Dravidian language. All languages will be difficult if you won’t try to understand and speak. Regional languages are comparatively easy as you tend to hear a few words here and there.
The beauty of the Kannada language is in its simplicity, ability to evolve by borrowing and lending thousands of words from and to other languages.
I had a few quick tips here for you to be able to learn the language faster!
Start small – Learn and understand the commonly used words – What, Why, Who, How, Name, Place, Here, There, Come, Go etc.
Download the apps which support speaking and learning. As an example: http://Maathadi.com to speak in the Kannada language
Write a journey or a diary. Whenever you come across a new word, jot it down. Add at least 10 new words to your list every day. Keep a dictionary along or ask a native Kannada speaker its meaning. Sometimes, the same words are used in different contexts. Make an effort to understand it.
Keep revising the words whenever you’re free. Once you’ve gathered a good number of words, try weaving them into sentences. You’ll need at least 100 basic words before you can start off.
Do not directly translate each word from your language to Kannada. Languages don’t work that way. Understand the language structure.
But it’s okay if you mess up the sentence. Don’t hesitate to converse in Kannada. Kannadigas appreciate people who try to talk in Kannada, they’ll correct you if you mess up. 🙂
Understand the grammar. It’ll take some time to get accustomed to the new rules though.
Use your Smartphone – There’re plenty of apps that’ll be helpful. @Kannada Baruthe , @Learn Spoken Kannada to name a few. Also, download an English to Kannada Dictionary.
You can use Google Translate as well.
If carrying a notebook is cumbersome, use Apps like Evernote to keep a track of your words.
Watch Kannada Movies and listen to Kannada songs. I have friends who’ve learnt Japanese just by watching Anime. Besides, Sandalwood has made some really brilliant movies that everybody can enjoy. Watch them and try imitating the dialogues. This will help you to a great extent. Watch titles like Manasaare, Pancharangi, Ulidavaru Kandanthe, Lucia (2013 film)
Listen to Radio Stations. RJs talk in English as well, it’ll be easier for you to get the context.
When alone, speak out the sentences aloud. This will attune you to the sounds and pronunciations.
Most importantly, implement it. Talk to the Bus conductors, auto drivers, vendors, shopkeepers in Kannada. Again, don’t hesitate to talk. Nobody will judge. Trust me when I say nothing makes a Kannadiga happier than watching a non-Kannadiga make an effort to talk in their language.
Ask your friends/colleagues to converse with you in Kannada and also ask them to correct you when you make a mistake.
Kannada is indeed very easy to learn but writing may take some time. I recommend you start speaking as a first step. Start with commonly used day to day greetings and conversation language. Such as:
shubha muMjAne [Good Morning]
shubha madhyAhna [Good Afternoon]
shubha rAtri [Good Night]
ಶುಭ ಹಾರೈಕೆ (ಗುಡ್ ಬೈ)
shubha hAraike (guD bai) [Good Bye]
nInu/nIvu hEgiddIya/hEgiddIri [How are you]
nAnu chennAgiddEne.[I am fine]
dhanyavAdagaLu [thank you]
Well said by Amy!
Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery. – Amy Chua, Attempt it!
Learning a new language is a rewarding experience. The trick is to not give up.