Kannada is one of the oldest languages of the world. That is why it has so many interesting tales associated with it. Presently, it is the state language of Karnataka and also the heart language of Kannadigas. Well known as Kanarese or Canarese, this Dravidian language is predominantly spoken by Kannada people in Karnataka. Here are some of the historical facts about the Kannada language:
Oldest Of Major Dravidian Languages
It is one of the oldest of all the four major Dravidian languages having literary tradition. Surprisingly, Kannada boasts of having an unbroken literary history of more than a thousand years.
Oldest Language In India
Kannada is also one of the oldest languages in the country. The Government of India granted Kannada the classical-language status in 2008.
Old Kannada Flourished In 6th Century
From Epigraphs, it is evident that the Kannada language existed before one and a half millennia. The oldest literary works reveal that the old Kannada flourished during the Ganga dynasty in the 6th century AD and during the Rashtrakuta dynasty during the 9th century.
Influence Of Sanskrit
Different ancient languages have a good amount of influence on Kannada. Sanskrit influenced this language to a large extent. Other languages to make an impression on this Dravidian language include Prakrit and Pali. Rather Kannada is the 3rd heavily Sanskritized Dravidian language just after Telugu.
Oldest Preserved Manuscript
The oldest preserved manuscript in Kannada is a well-preserved Jain Bhandar, Mudbidri palm leaf manuscript of Dhavala. It contains 1478 leaves in old Kannada from the 9th century AD.
Oldest Kannada Inscription
The oldest Kannada inscription is Nishadhi dating back to 400 AD and 50 years older than the Halmidi inscription. Incidentally, the Halmidi inscription is the earliest record dating back to 450 AD in Kannada characters.
Ashokan Inscription In Kannada
The Brahmagiri edict from the Ashokan inscriptions contains the word “ Isila” which means shooting an arrow. Isila is a Kannada word which indicates that people spoke this language even in the 3rd century BCE.
Kannada Existed Before Christian Era
Kannada is the oldest language along with Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Tamil. Linguists believe that Kannada branched off from the proto-Tamil South Dravidian division even before the Christian Era.
Reference By Ptolemy
Ptolemy made references of a few names during 150 AD in his geographical treatise which refer to some of the ancient names of present-day from Karnataka. It indicates Kannada’s existence in those days.
Greek Dramatists Familiar With Kannada
Some of the historical facts about the Kannada language indicate that the great Greek dramatists of the 4th century BCE were familiar with both the Kannada country and the Kannada language. Euripides and Aristophanes used Kannada phrases and expressions in their dialogues for some of the characters in their dramas.
These were a few historical facts about the Kannada language. If you have anything to add then please let us know in the comments below.
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