Learning Kannada is a rewarding, fascinating, and occasionally frustrating experience. Yet sometimes the most challenging thing can be finding good learning resources and – especially if you’re not in Karnataka – practice opportunities.
Kannada is the language of Sandalwood cinema, some of India’s oldest literature, and roughly 50 million people across the globe.
The earliest existing example of written Kannada, the Halmidi Inscription, dates back around 2,500 years.
The prolific quantity of Old Kannada literature has led to Kannada being officially labeled a Classical language of India. And as a Dravidian language, it has a lot in common with other major literary languages such as Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam (but a bit less in common with Hindi and Urdu).
Today, it’s spoken mainly in the South Indian state of Karnataka, home to major cities such as Bengaluru and Mysuru; heritage sites such as Hampi and Pattadakal; and incredible natural sights such as Agumbe and the Kudremukh mountain range. You will also hear it spoken in neighboring states, however, and among diaspora communities.
Best resources for learning Kannada
Courses, classes, apps, podcasts, movies, textbooks, fiction books: you might be surprised to discover just how many options there are for studying Kannada.
ONLINE KANNADA CLASSES AND LANGUAGE EXCHANGES
No matter how much grammar or vocabulary you learn, you won’t improve your spoken fluency until you actually start speaking the language. Here are a few options.
A teacher can guide you through grammar rules, give you personalized feedback, and help make sure you’re speaking as well as studying Kannada.
Before you go hunting the web for online teachers, it’s worth asking at your nearest temple. Some of them offer free or affordable classes, and you’ll also benefit from getting to know other Kannada learners.
No luck at your local temple?
Multibhashi is one of the good online language-learning marketplaces. You can take private one-to-one video classes with a tutor of your choice
If you download the app, you can take part in the forums and get community feedback on your writing and speaking.
Looking for more options?
IndLangs promises to get you comfortable speaking Kannada after just ten 90-minute Skype lessons. They also have a reading and writing course.
Sometimes, you just need a fellow learner or native speaker to offer a helping hand. Perhaps you’ve come across an idiom that isn’t in the dictionary, or you’d like someone to tell you if a sentence you’ve written is grammatically correct.
While online classes can be a great space for this, community feedback can also give you a quick answer. Just remember to give as much support to the community as you receive. Stick around and answer a few questions, if you can.
There’s nothing like speaking Kannada with native speakers for improving your fluency, response time, and confidence. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Karnataka to do this.
There are several language exchange apps, such as Speaky, HelloTalk, and Tandem, that will help you meet Kannada speakers and have conversations.
Try MeetUp. While it only has a few Kannada-specific groups, there are plenty of language exchanges where you might meet a Kannada speaker. Alternatively, you can create your own group or try Facebook groups.
Although you can make great friends at language exchanges, be cautious at first. Remember that everyone’s a stranger. Meet up in public and don’t be afraid to set boundaries or refuse to give out your contact details. After all, you can always see them at the next MeetUp.
KANNADA LANGUAGE COURSES: ONLINE, APP-BASED, & AUDIO
Signing up for a course will give your learning structure and make it easier to measure your progress. You might find it keeps you motivated. And while you won’t find Kannada courses on Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Busuu, or Multibhashi.
KANNADA VOCABULARY BUILDERS, WORD LISTS, AND FLASHCARDS
Expanding your vocabulary will help you talk about more topics, speak with greater detail and precision, and avoid having to pull out a dictionary mid-conversation.
No matter your Kannada level, Anki is a great tool. You can create your own flashcard sets or use someone else’s. The app adapts to how difficult you find certain words, and you can also add images and audio files to the flashcards.
LEARNING KANNADA VIA YOUTUBE
If you feel like you’re too focused on textbook Kannada, or are simply more of an aural learner, YouTube can be a great option.
Kannada TV is a must-subscribe channel. It has playlists on learning Kannada through English and Hindi, as well as ones dedicated to homonyms, vocabulary, dialogues, common phrases, and more.
KANNADA FICTION BOOKS AND POETRY
As a Classical Language of India, Kannada has a rich literary history that stretches from the ninth-century Kavirajamarga through to the modern-day. But while there are numerous classic poems that are worth reading, you’ll probably find it easiest, to begin with, something more modern.
SANDALWOOD CINEMA: TV AND MOVIES IN KANNADA
Turn your downtime into study time by watching Kannada-language TV shows and movies. Not only is it fun but you’ll find yourself picking up more colloquial phrases and getting used to a wider variety of accents. Plus, you’ll always have a good topic of conversation to fall back on.
Even if quiz shows aren’t your thing, it’s worth searching for episodes of That Antha Heli on YouTube. This series tests participants on idioms, proverbs, riddles, synonyms, and more, making it ideal for language learners.
Looking for ways to improve your listening, pick up new vocabulary, or just fill your commute time? Podcasts are a great way to not only practice Kananda but also listen to something you find interesting.
NEWS, MUSIC, AND OTHER RESOURCES FOR LEARNING KANNADA
While listening to music isn’t exactly studying, it further immerses you in Kannada, introduces you to extra vocabulary, and gets you thinking more in the language (especially if you like to sing along).
Make sure you find the music you like, rather than just adding songs to your playlists because they’re in Kannada. Try listening to multi-genre playlists like Spotify’s official ones: Latest Kannada and Kannada Indie. Alternatively, use that search bar – there are dozens, if not hundreds, to choose from.
Before you go using the new phrases with your friends, make sure you’ve looked them up in the dictionary and understand the context. Just because something’s said in a rap song doesn’t always make it suitable for everyday use.
So now you got the idea that apart from going to school, one can learn Kannada in many other ways. So explore other options and Start learning Kannada without any hesitation!!!