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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

YouTube India to Focus on Regional Languages For Driving Creator Growth

According to the company, for the past several years, video has increasingly been a medium that inspired and fascinated Indians and also became the canvas for their imagination

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YouTube
YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the one million subscriber milestone, while just five years ago, there were only two creators with a million subscribers on the platform. Pixabay

Google-owned YouTube, which has more than 265 million monthly active users in India, will focus on regional languages to drive the growth of creators on the platform in 2020, a top company executive has said.

According to Satya Raghavan, Director, Content Partnerships, YouTube in India, the company’s focus on Indian languages will continue and it will encourage more creators to find success on the video sharing platform in the next year.

“In the last three years we saw good growth in regional languages, especially Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. We saw uptake for content in Tamil initially, and Telugu and Malayalam picked up later too,” Raghavan told IANS on Friday.

Other languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi started to evolve on YouTube India in 2016.

These Indian languages continued expanding their verticals, from comedy to gaming to beauty, and today they have a full range of content on the popular video sharing platform.

“In the twelfth year of YouTube’s journey in India, 2019 has proven to be a coming-of-age year in more ways than one,” he noted.

This year, genres such as farming, gaming and learning, grew into categories worth mentioning on YouTube, and hit massive reach and engagement.

According to the company, across categories, women creators were seen leading from the front.

YouTube
Google-owned YouTube, which has more than 265 million monthly active users in India, will focus on regional languages to drive the growth of creators on the platform in 2020, Pixabay

While 2016 had just one woman YouTube creator with a subscriber base of over one million, this year saw that number shoot to 120 women YouTube creators with over a million followers.

Asked if women creators did particularly well in a specific genre, Raghavan replied: “They did well in almost every category.”

To further encourage the engagement of viewers and also the growth of creators and content, the company will focus on learning and gaming verticals in the next year.

“We expect to focus more on growing the learning vertical, and especially gaming which will continue to see uptake among people,” noted Raghavan.

Earlier this year, the company, at its annual flagship event Brandcast, had said: “India is now both our biggest audience and one of our fastest growing audiences in the world. YouTube today has become the first stop for users to consume content, whether they’re looking for entertainment or information.”

YouTube
Other languages such as Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, and Marathi started to evolve on YouTube India in 2016. Pixabay

YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the one million subscriber milestone, while just five years ago, there were only two creators with a million subscribers on the platform.

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According to the company, for the past several years, video has increasingly been a medium that inspired and fascinated Indians and also became the canvas for their imagination. (IANS)