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7 facts about Konkani language that may amaze you

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Konkani

By Harshmeet Singh

There aren’t many better examples of India’s diverse culture than its linguistic diversity. The country is home to 780 languages with over 120 of them holding the ‘official’ status. But the other side of the story is that India currently heads the list of UNESCO’s world’s languages in danger.

The constitution, in its eighth schedule, lists 22 languages as the official regional languages in the country. This series of articles is an attempt to focus on these 22 languages, their pasts and present, and cherish our linguistic diversity. After discussing about Assamese, Bodo and Koshur in the previous write-ups, today, we shift our focus towards Konkani.

  • Konkani has close to 7.5 million native speakers spread across the western coast of the country in the states of Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
  • A number of Konkani scholars claim that the older version of the language was in fact Prakrit.

konkani facts

  • According to the legends, Parashurama, the sixth avtar of Lord Vishnu, shot an arrow in the Sea and instructed the Sea Lord to retreat to the level where the arrow was placed. The new land that came into being was called ‘Konkan’ – corner of the earth. The language of this land was called Konkani.
  • With Goa being a thriving commercial centre in the ancient times, a number of Turks and Arabs visited the place frequently. As a result, multiple Persian and Arabic words came into the Konkani language. Some of them include dusman (enemy) and karz (debt).
  • Konkani is written in multiple scripts, viz. Devanagari, Roman, Kannada, Malayalam and Perso-Arabic.
  • Marathis have always been very critical of Konkani. Their common view is, “It a branch of Marathi; it has neither script nor literature; it is not a language.”
  • When the Portuguese invaded Goa, they tried to force their language and culture on the local people. All the Konkani literature was burnt in 1548 and the use of the local language was banned. To safeguard their language, a number of locals fled to nearby states and provinces. As a result, the language developed different forms.
  • The Konkani Wikipedia project took off in 2006 and the site has close to 100 articles now.

So the next time you are holidaying in Goa, greet the locals by saying, “Dev Boro Dis Dium”!

To read more in this series –

Bodo Sahitya Sabha – Trying to revive the language

Assamese – a bright spot in Indian regional languages scene

Koshur language – Carrying forward Kashmiri culture

Next Story

Microsoft Launches Smart Phonetic Keyboards for 10 Indian Languages

The updated keyboards have automatically been made available with the recent Windows 10 update

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Microsoft
Logo of Microsoft outside it's office. Pixabay

In a bid to further allow users personalise their Windows 10 experience, software giant Microsoft on Monday launched smart phonetic keyboards for 10 Indian languages as part of its May 2019 update.

The updated phonetic keyboards have been made available in languages including Hindi, Bangla, Tamil and Marathi amongst others, the company said in a statement.

The keyboards would allow users to work in their preferred languages without having to purchase customised Indic hardware keyboards or stickers.

cyber spies, identities
FILE – A man types on a computer keyboard in this illustration, Feb. 28, 2013. VOA

The technology would let users input transliterated text using the existing keyboards and then convert text from one script to another, depending on the target language.

The new tools would not only help in making computing inclusive, but they are also expected to improve typing speed and accuracy in Indian languages by at least 20 per cent along with making it easier to make regional symbols like the Indian numerals easier to input, the company said.

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With this, the software giant moves forward in its aim to integrate virtual keyboards as part of its Windows operating system.

The updated keyboards have automatically been made available with the recent Windows 10 update. (IANS)