Introduction to Kannada
The Kannada language 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. Learning Kannada is a good choice if you are interested in learning a new language or you have some other reason like you decide to move to Karnataka. You decide to live long in Karnataka, it’s always good to learn a local language. Learning at least a few rudimentary basics can take you a long way and help you connect with the local culture.
Best Ways to Learn Kannada on Your Own
1. Start with nouns (names of objects)
Get a Kannada dictionary or use online resources like google translate to learn the names of all of the objects that you use on a daily basis. Start by learning these words, and then as you go about your day to day life every time you look at the object say the word either in your head or out loud. Eventually you will be able to name all the objects without thinking. Also learn the names of objects you see on the TV or hear about on the radio. Continue to grow your vocabulary every day to keep the Kannada language alive in your brain.
2. Move onto verbs
Find a list of the common verbs or something similar in your native language and start to learn them. It’s also helpful to start learning how to conjugate the verbs. Try not to get too bogged down in the grammar, at this point you are trying to learn to speak Kannada, the rest will come with time. As you are learning the verbs, start to use them in sentences. This will be a slow and frustrating process at first, but stick with it. Language is made to be used, so speak it as much as is possible.
3. Immerse yourself in the language and culture
Watch Kannada films in either the Kannada language and use the Kannada subtitles or watch English movies with Kannada subtitles. It’s not the most accurate, but can help you hear the language in a more natural setting. As you become more advanced with your Kannada language, move on to radio and podcasts from any native speakers. It’s so much better to learn a language from native speakers as you will learn more “day-to-day” language like slang and sayings that make you sound more natural.
4. Speak, speak and speak again
There are many online platforms that allow you to speak to native Kannada speakers. Some of them you have to pay for, but there are a few out there that are free. Always be careful on any online platform. Don’t give out personal information to anyone that you don’t know. Even if you just have pretended conversations with yourself. Yes, you will look slightly strange so I don’t recommend doing this in public, but sit down and talk through a normal conversation that you might have every day or pretend you are giving a speech on the culture of the language you are learning or something that you are really interested in. Not only does this allow you to practice the language, it also shows you where there are any gaps in your knowledge to lead you on to your next study goal.
5. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
The biggest cause of people giving up on learning Kannada or not even starting a language in the first place is fear of looking like an idiot. Think of a child learning to speak their mother tongue, they start with simple words. Then when they progress to sentences, they are very simple and often jumbled. You will follow the same path. That’s OK!!! Making mistakes is how you learn.