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7 facts about Konkani language that may amaze you

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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

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Microsoft Announces Indian Languages Support For e-mail Addresses

Microsoft's products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and e-mail addresses become available in the future

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Representational image.
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons
  • Microsoft announced support in Indian Languages for e-mail
  • There will be 15 Indian languages supported now
  • Indians will be able to use Microsoft in their local languages

Microsoft on Wednesday announced support for e-mail addresses in 15 Indian languages across its apps and services, including Office 365, Outlook 2016, Outlook.com, Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

Microsoft introduces 15 new indian languages to its support.
Microsoft introduces 15 new Indian languages to its support.

Indian users would be able to use local language e-mail addresses for Outlook accounts on their personal computers, the company said on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day.

It would also allow users to seamlessly send/receive mails to/from local language e-mail addresses via Outlook client on PCs, Outlook.com in addition to Outlook apps for Android and IOS.

“Making e-mail addresses available in 15 languages is an exciting step to making modern communications and collaboration tools more accessible and easier to use for all,” Meetul Patel, COO, Microsoft India, said in a statement.

The Indian languages which will be supported include Hindi, Bengali, etc. Wikimedia Commons
The Indian languages which will be supported include Hindi, Bengali, etc. Wikimedia Commons

“We are making technology use the language of people and not requiring people to first learn the traditional language of technology,” Patel added.

The initiative is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support Email Address Internationalisation (EAI) across its products and services eco-system and make technology accessible in local languages.

The languages being introduced are those that support Unicode — an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts.

Microsoft’s products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and e-mail addresses become available in the future, making this feature forward compatible.

Microsoft launches 15 Indian languages in its support. VOA
Microsoft launches 15 Indian languages in its support. VOA

Last month, Microsoft announced the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to improve real-time language translation for Hindi, Bengali and Tamil languages.

This technology would help users in getting results that are more accurate and natural while surfing the Internet across any website on the MS Edge browser, Bing search, Bing Translator website, as well as MS Office 365 products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype. IANS