K for Konkani. #A to Z Challenge

For me, K is for Konkani. In case you are foxed, never having the word before, let me say that it is a language spoken in a few parts of India and happens to my mother tongue. While jobs and career opportunities have taken Konkani folk to all parts of the country, and indeed the globe, it is largely restricted to the States of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Kerala.  They say that Konkani is more akin to Sanskrit than any other language spoken today.

When your mother tongue is a dialect, you have to learn to read and write in another language. In my case, I learnt to read and write in English. Others could have learnt Kannada or Marathi or Malayalam or even Perso-Arabic depending on where they came from.  Interestingly, even though the numbers who speak the language are not large, Konkani is spoken differently in different parts of the country. We the Hindu Konkanis from Mangalore speak it with a particular inflection which is different from the way Konkani speakers from Kerala, for example would speak the language. Likewise, the Christians in Mangalore speak a slightly different brand of Konkani from ours and it is totally different from the way Konkanis ( even Christians) in Goa would speak it.

Despite all this the number of people in India who speak Konkani is not large at all. The Indian census for 2001 puts the figure at a little over 2 million, which is insignificant in a hugely populous country like ours. In fact, as compared to major languages, our numbers are dwindling. One of the reasons could be that as more inter-community marriages take place, the couple could choose a neutral language both are comfortable with and Konkani takes a back seat.

There have been efforts to promote literature in Konkani. Since 1975 when it was recognised as an independent and literary language, eminent writers, poets etc have been honoured with the prestigious Sahitya Akademy award.  This has been largely for writing using the Devanagiri script.

A project which caught my attention is called Save My Language where you can learn new words and improve your vocabulary. The internet has done wonders to spread efforts to propagate Konkani.  I was equally amazed to find that there was actually a crossword in Konkani.! I do hope efforts like these will keep the language alive.

3 thoughts on “K for Konkani. #A to Z Challenge

  1. How wonderful to hear about Konkani.I have very close friends who speak the language and I think the main culprit today, is the lack of speaking it at home with kids. I certainly hope we don’t let these lovelytongues die a slow death.

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