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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

Snapchat Launches its Beta Test Version in Eight New Languages

While Snapchat lost users because of its much reviled redesign, the company stressed that it ultimately resulted in 30 per cent more people watching its exclusive stories and shows

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Snapchat is reportedly planning to launch more
Snapchat, IANS

In its efforts to reach more users, photo-messaging app Snapchat has launched a beta test version in eight new languages, five of which are Indian, the media reported on Wednesday.

The new languages being tested are Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Malay, Vietnamese and Filipino, evidently focusing on the Indian market.

The turn of events is interesting after Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, in April 2017, infamously said that “poor countries” like India and Spain were of no interest to him for business expansion.

“This is our first Beta containing eight new languages! If you’re fluent in any languages listed below, try changing your device language to check them out,” web portal Social Media Today quoted Snapchat as saying on the beta description.

The company has urged beta testers to report issues with screenshots to help make the launch of these languages “awesome”.

The official release date of the new languages support, however, remains unclear.

It is also not known whether the beta is being tested by Android users, iOS users or both.

Snapchat, smartphones
An image of the Snapchat logo created with Post-it notes is seen in lower Manhattan, New York, May 18, 2016. VOA

A 2017 Google report suggested that India would have nearly 536 million internet users accessing content in languages other than English by 2021.

“India, the second most populated nation on Earth behind China and the second biggest smartphone market in the world, has become a key growth region of focus for social media apps in recent times, with Facebook now serving more users in the country than in the US.

“India is also the second biggest market, in terms of users, for both Instagram and LinkedIn. It then makes sense that Snapchat looks to make India a bigger focus,” the report said.

Also Read- Google Launches a Free App ‘Bolo’ For Kids in India

In October 2018, Snapchat hired Raheel Khursheed, former head of news partnerships and government for Twitter India, as its first executive to head operations in the country.

In February, the photo-messaging app claimed that it had added 186 million daily users in the final three months of 2018, ending a streak of two consecutive quarters of declining users.

While Snapchat lost users because of its much reviled redesign, the company stressed that it ultimately resulted in 30 per cent more people watching its exclusive stories and shows, the media reported. (IANS)