|कोंकणी, Konknni, ಕೊಂಕಣಿ, കൊങ്കണി|
|Pronunciation||kõkɵɳi (standard), kõkɳi (popular)|
|Total speakers||3.6 million|
|Writing system||Devanagari (official), Roman, and Arabic|
|Official language in||Goa, India|
|Regulated by||Various academies and the Government of Goa|
Konkani (Devanāgarī: कोंकणी, Kōṅkaṇī; Roman: Konknni;കൊങ്കണി) is an Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European family of languages spoken in the Konkan coast of India. It has approximately 3.6 million speakers of its two individual languages, Konkani and Goan Konkani.
Konkani is the official language in the Indian state of Goa and is also one of the official languages of India. Devanagari has been mandated as the official script. Though Konkani does not have a unique script, scripts of the other languages native to the regions its speakers inhabit are used.
The Konkani language is spoken widely in the Western Coastal region of India known as Konkan. This consists of the Konkan division of Maharashtra, Goa,North Canara. Each region has a different dialect, pronunciation style, vocabulary, tone and sometimes, significant differences in grammar. The Census Department of India, 1991 figures put the number of Konkani speakers in India as 1,760,607 making up 0.21% of India's population. Out of these, 602,606 were in Goa, 706,397 in Karnataka, 312,618 in Maharashtra. It ranks 15th in the list of Scheduled Languages by strength. According to the 2001 estimates of the The Census Department of India, there are 2,489,015 Konkani speakers in India. A very large number of Konkanis stay outside India, either as expatriates or citizens of other countries (NRIs). Determining their numbers is difficult.
The word Konkani is said to have originated from the word Kukkana (which gave birth to the modern word Konkan) is a narrow strip of land between the Sahyadri mountain range and the Arabian sea. This word has been derived from the language that was spoken by groups of proto-Australoid people who inhabited the land before the advent of so called,the Indo-Aryans and the Indo-Scythian. The language spoken by this tribe was akin to Mundari. Many words of proto-Australoid origin are still found in Konkani, e.g.: Goyy, Kudd, Kumeri, Tanti, Khop.
The later migrants who settled Goa (then Konkan which never was part of Maharshtra or Karnataka) spoke other Indo-Aryan languages. Thus Konkani was born as a confluence of the Indo-Aryan languages while accepting many words from the proto-Australoid dialects. Proto-Konkani born out of Shauraseni prakrit at the earlier stage of the evolution and later Maharashtri prakrit at its later phase ultimately developed into Apabhramsha which could be called as predecessor old Konkani.
Studying early Maharashtri compilations many linguists have called Konkani as the first-born daughter of Maharashtri. This old language that was prevalent contemporary to old Marathi is found to be distinct from its counterpart.
It was influenced later by Magadhi Prakrit and the overtones of Pali (the liturgical language of the Buddhists) that played a very important role in development of Konkani Apabhramsha grammar and vocabulary.
The Sauraseni impact on Konkani is not so prominent than that of Maharashtri. Very few Konkani words are found to follow the Sauraseni pattern. Konkani forms are rather more akin to Pali than the corresponding Sauraseni forms. The major Sauraseni influence on Konkani,is the ao sound found at the end of many nouns in Sauraseni,which becomes o in Konkani, e.g.: dando, suno, raakhano.
This form of old Konkani is referred to as Paishachi apabhramsha by some linguists. This progenitor of Konkani or Paishachi apabhramsha has preserved an older form of phonetic and grammatic development showing greater variety of verbal forms found in Sanskrit and larger number of grammatical forms that are not found in Marathi,examples of which are found in many works like Dnyaneshwari, and Leela Charitra.
The language is endowed with overall Sanskrit complexity and grammatical structure, that developed a lexical fund of its own.
The following table illustraes how modern Konkani words have been derived from Prakrit which in turn have Sanskrit roots
Origin of few Konkani words:
|Source:The Koṅkaṇî language and literature by Joseph Gerson Cunha,pages:50|
Not all words found in Konkani are corrupted Sanskrit words,but many Sanskrit words are used as they were, eg:Vaat(road), Udaka(water), Marga(path), Nisani(ladder), Sarini (broom), Tandul(Rice) and many more.
The Proto-Australoids also known as Shabars who are believed to have come from the west, once formed the aboriginal population of Goa and Konkan. Gaudes, Kunbis, Mahars of Konkan today are supposed to be the modern representatives of Proto-Australoids. Many Konkani words related to agriculture find their roots in Proto-Australoid dialects, eg: kumeri, mer, zonn, khazzan.
The later settlers of Goa viz. the Sumerians, the Mediterraneans also exerted an impact on this language. These peoples can be collectively called the Dravidians. Words like tandul, narikel or naall, dholl, madval and others have Dravidian origin.
Though it belongs to Indo-Aryan group, Konkani was influenced by Kannada,a member of Dravidian family.The Kadambas who ruled Goa for a long period had their roots in Karnataka thus Konkani was not used for official purposes and did not receive royal patronage. Another reason Kannada influence on Konkani is proximity of original Konkani speaking territory to Karnataka.
Old Konkani documents show considerable Kannada influence on grammar as well as the vocabulary. Like southern dravidian languages Konkani has prothetic glides y- and w-. Kannada influence is more evident in Konkani syntax.the question markers in yes/no questions and the negative marker are sentence final. Copula deletion in Konkani is remarkably similar to Kannada.
Goa being a major centre for trade was visited by Arabs,Turks,Summertime,Assyrians, since early times. Thus many Arabic and Persian words infiltrated into Konkani language.
Early in the era of Portuguese colonisation, Christian missionaries realised the importance of propagating in local tongues and translated Christian Literature into Konkani and sometimes Marathi, the most notable among them being Fr Thomas Stephens.
However, in 1684 A.D., the Portuguese administration banned the use of local languages in their Indian territories. They mandated the use of Portuguese not just for official purposes but everyday conversations including speaking at homes or bazaars. This was because local languages served as a medium for Hindu religious instruction. They also wanted to sever the links the new converts had with their old religion.
Coupled with the imposition of Portuguese as an official language, it led to a steady decline of Konkani, which unlike most Indian languages had absolutely no state patronage.
The Hindus of Goa had been using Marathi as a language of religious ceremonies from a long time. Also the interaction between Marathis and Konkanis in the past, that had resulted in Konkanis being bilingual with Marathi, now cemented the status of Marathi as the liturgical and literary language of Hindus in Goa, including Konkanis. Similarly, upper class Christians used Konkani only to communicate with the lower classes and poor, using Portuguese in social gatherings. The use of Portuguese led to the influence of Portuguese in Konkani, especially in the dialects spoken by the Christians.
Meanwhile, the migrant communities outside Goa kept Konkani alive, and the language became more fragmented. The Devanagari script came into use in Maharashtra, while Kannada Script was used by migrants to Karnataka.
The arrival of the Portuguese led to major changes in Konkani. The conversion of Konkanis to Christianity and the religious policies of the Portuguese caused a large number of Konkanis to flee to neighbouring territories. The isolation of Hindu and Christian Konkanis added to the fragmentation of Konkani into multiple dialects.
The language spread to Canara (coastal Karnataka), Kokan-patta (coastal Konkan division of Maharashtra) and Kerala during the last 500 years due to migration of Konkanis. Although a few Konkanis may have been present in the neighbouring areas and there may have been migrations due to economic reasons in the past, the main cause of migration was the Portuguese control over Goa.
It was spread to these areas by Hindu Konkani and Christian Konkani speakers in three waves of migration. The first migration occurred during the early years of Portuguese rule and the Inquisition of 1560s. The second wave of migration was during the 1571 C.E. war with the Sultan of Bijapur. The third wave of migration happened during the wars of 1683-1740 A.D. with the Marathas. While the first wave was of Hindus, the second and third waves were mainly those of Christians.
These migrant communities grew in relative isolation and each developed its own dialect. Since these communities had to interact with others in local languages on a daily basis, Konkani dialects show strong local influences in terms of script, vocabulary and also style.
Other Konkani communities came into being with their own dialects of Konkani. The Konkani Muslim communities of Ratnagiri and Bhatkal came about due to a mixture of intermarriage of Arab seafarers and locals as well as conversions of Hindus to Islam. Another migrant community that picked up Konkani was the Siddis who were sailor-warriors from Ethiopia.
on the top of Shacipura.
|“||Ata tu jo konuyyre shasnolpi techya vedyanth devachi bhal sakutmbi apadem,tehechi may gadhavem||”|
|“||Chvundaraje karaviyale, gangaraje sutatale karaviyale||”|
Chamundaraja got it done, Gangaraja got it done all around
The above inscription has been quite controversial, and touted as being old-Marathi. But, distinctive instrumental viyalem ending of the verb is the hallmark of Konkani language, and the verb sutatale or sutatalap is not prevalent in Marathi. So the linguists and hisorians like S.B.Kulkarni of Nagpur University, Dr V.P Chavan (former vice-president of the Anthropological society of Mumbai), and others have thus concluded that its Konkani.
The Konkani language has 16 basic vowels (excluding equal number of long vowels), 36 consonants, 5 semi-vowels, 3 sibilants, 1 aspirate and many diphthongs. Like the other Indo-Aryan languages, it has both long and short vowels and syllables with long vowels may appear to be stressed.Different types of nasal vowels are a special feature of the Konkani language.
Whereas most Indian languages use only one of the three front vowels, represented by the Devanagari grapheme ए(IPA:e), Konkani uses three: e, ɛ and æ.
The Near-open front unrounded vowel (æ), as used in Konkani is different from its standard IPA definition. It is positioned between ɛ and æ and slightly longer than æ. The standard pronunciation of æ is only used for loan-words.
Nasalizations exist for all vowels except for ʌ.
The Consonants in Konkani are similar to Marathi.
Konkani is a language rich in morphology, syntax. The grammar and syntax of Goan Konkani were significantly influenced by Portuguese. Konkani in other areas may be influenced by Dravidian languages. It cannot be described as a stress language nor as a tone language.
Konkani is written in a number of scripts. Brahmi was originally used but fell into disuse. Devanagari is the official script for Konkani in Goa. Roman script is also popular in Goa. The Kannada script is used amongst the Konkani population of Karnataka. Malayalam script is used by the Konkani community, centered around the cities of Cochin and Kozhikode in Kerala state. Konkani Muslims in coastal Maharashtra and Bhatkal taluka of Karnataka use Arabic script to write Konkani.
|IPA Symbol||Modified Devanagari Alphabet||Standard Devanagari Alphabet||Roman Script||Kannada Alphabet||Malayalam Alphabet||Arabic Alphabet|
|/æ/||no symbol||ए||e||ಎ or ಐ||ഐ||?|
Konkani, despite having a small population shows a very high number of dialects. The dialect tree structure of Konkani can easily be classified according to the region, religion, caste and local tongue influence.
Other researchers have classified the dialects differently.
The various dialects of Konkani macrolanguage as reported by Ethnologue are:
Konkani was in a sorry state, due to the use of Portuguese as the official and social language among the Christians; the predominance of Marathi over Konkani among Hindus and the Konkani Christian-Hindu divide. Seeing this Vaman Raghunath Varde Valaulikar set about on a mission to unite all Konkanis, Hindus as well as Christians, regardless of caste or religion. He saw this movement not just as a nationalistic movement against Portuguese rule, but also against the pre-eminence of Marathi over Konkani. Almost single handedly he crusaded, writing a number of works in Konkani. He is regarded as the pioneer of modern Konkani literature and affectionately remembered as Shenoi Goembab. His death anniversary, 9 April, is celebrated as World Konkani Day (Viswa Konknni Dis).
Following India's Independence and its subsequent reconquest of Goa in 1961, Goa was absorbed into the Indian Union as a Union Territory, directly under central administration.
However, with the reorganization of states along linguistic lines, and growing calls from Maharashtra, as well as Marathis in Goa for the merger of Goa into Maharashtra, an intense debate was started in Goa. The main issues discussed were the status of Konkani as an independent language and Goa's future as a part of Maharashtra or as an independent state. A plebiscite retained Goa as an independent state in 1967. However, English, Hindi and Marathi continued to be the preferred languages for official communication, while Konkani was sidelined.
With the continued insistence of some Marathis that Konkani was a dialect of Marathi and not an independent language, the matter was finally placed before the Sahitya Akademi. Suniti Kumar Chatterji, the president of the Akademi appointed a Committee of linguistic experts to settle the dispute. On February 26, 1975, the Committee after due deliberation, came to the conclusion that Konkani was indeed an independent and literary language with it being classified as an Indo-European language which in its present state is heavily influenced by the Portuguese language.
All this did not change anything in Goa. Finally fed up with the delay, Konkani lovers launched an agitation demanding official status to Konkani in 1986. The agitation turned violent in various places, resulting in the death of six agitators. Finally, on 4 February 1987, the Goa Legislative Assembly passed the Official Language Bill making Konkani the Official Language of Goa.
Konkani was included in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India, as per the Seventy-First Amendment on 31 August 1992, adding it to the list of National Languages.
The Konkani language has been in danger of dying out primarily due to:
Efforts have been made to stop this downward trend of usage of Konkani, starting with Shenoi Goembab's efforts to revive Konkani. There has been a renewed interest in Konkani Literature. The recognition granted by Sahitya Akademi to Konkani and the institution of an annual award for Konkani literature has helped.
Some organisations such as the Konkan Daiz Yatra, organised by Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Mumbai since 1939 and the newer Vishwa Konkani Parishad have laid great stress on uniting all factions of Konkanis.
According to the Census Department of India, Konkani speakers show a very high degree of multilingualism. In the 1991 census, as compared to the national average of 19.44% for bilingualism and 7.26% for trilingualism; Konkani speakers scored 74.20% and 44.68% respectively. This makes Konkanis the most multilingual community of India.
This has been due to the fact that in most areas where Konkanis have settled, they seldom form a majority of the population and have to interact with others in the local tongue. Another reason for bilingualism has been the lack of schools teaching Konkani as a primary or secondary language.
While bilingualism is not by itself a bad thing, it has been misinterpreted as a sign that Konkani is not a developed language. The bilingualism of Konkanis with Marathi in Goa and Maharashtra has been a source of great discontent because it has led to the belief that Konkani is a dialect of Marathi  and hence had a bearing on the future of Goa.
It has been claimed by some quarters that Konkani is a dialect of Marathi and not an independent language. This has been attributed to several historical reasons (outlined in the History section), the close similarities between Marathi and Konkani, the geographical proximity between Goa and Maharashtra, the strong Marathi influence on Konkani dialects spoken in Maharashtra (such as Malwani), a supposed lack of literature in Konkani and a great degree of bilingualism of Konkani Hindus with respect to Marathi.
José Pereira, in his 1971 work "Konkani — A Language: A History of the Konkani Marathi Controversy", pointed to an essay on Indian languages written by John Leyden in 1807 wherein Konkani is called a "dialect of Maharashtra" as an origin of the language controversy.
Another linguist to whom the error is attributed is Grierson. Grierson's work on the languages of India: The Linguistic Survey of India was regarded as an important reference by other linguists. In his book, Grierson had distinguished between the Konkani spoken in costal Maharashtra (then, part of Bombay Presidency) and the Konkani spoken in Goa as being two different languages. He regarded the Konkani spoken in costal Maharashtra as a dialect of Marathi and not as a dialect of Goan Konkani itself. But, in his opinion, Goan Konkani was also to be considered a dialect of Marathi because the religious literature used by the Hindus in Goa was not in Konkani itself, but in Marathi. Grierson's opinion about Goan Konkani was not based on its linguistics but on the diglossic situation in Goa.
S. M. Katre's 1966 work, The Formation of Konkani, which utilized the instruments of modern historical and comparative linguistics across six typical Konkani dialects, showed the formation of Konkani to be distinct from that of Marathi. Shenoi Goembab, who played a pivotal role in the Konkani revival movement, rallied against the pre-eminence of Marathi over Konkani amongst Hindus and Portuguese amongst Christians.
Goa's accession to India in 1961 came at a time when Indian states were being reorganized along linguistic lines. There were demands to merge Goa with Maharashtra state. This was because Goa had a sizeable population of Marathi speakers and Konkani was also considered to be a dialect of Marathi by many. Konkani Goans were opposed to the move. The status of Konkani as an independent language or as a dialect of Marathi had a great political bearing on Goa's merger, which was settled by a plebiscite in 1967.
The Sahitya Akademi (a prominent literary organization in India) recognized it as an independent language in 1975, and subsequently Konkani (in Devanagari script) was made the official language of Goa in 1987.
The problems posed by multiple scripts and varying dialects have come as an impediment in the efforts to unite Konkanis. The decision to use Devanagari as official script and Antruz dialect has met with opposition both within Goa and outside it. The critics contend that Antruz dialect is unintelligible to most Goans, let alone other Konkanis, and that Devanagari is used very little as compared to Roman script in Goa or Kannada script in coastal Karnataka. Prominent among the critics are Konkani Catholics in Goa, who have been at the forefront of the Konkani agitation in 1986-87 and have for long used the Roman script including producing literature in Roman script. They are demanding that Roman script be given equal status to Devanagari.
In Karnataka, which has the largest number of Konkanis, leading organisations and activists have similarly demanded that Kannada script be made the medium of instruction for Konkani in local schools instead of Devanagari.
At present, no single script or dialect can claim to be understandable or acceptable to all sections. No serious efforts have been made to achieve a consensus on this issue. The lack of a standard dialect which is acceptable to all means that at many times Konkanis interact with other Konkanis in other languages.
There are various organisations working for Konkani but primarily, these were restricted to individual communities. The All India Konkani Parishad founded on 23 January 1978 served the purpose of providing a common ground for all groups. A new organisation known as Vishwa Konkani Parishad, which aims to be an all-inclusive and pluralistic umbrella organization for Konkanis around the world, was founded on 11 September 2005. The Vishwa Konkani Sammelan (First World Konkani Convention), which was held at Mangalore in 1995, had attracted more than 5000 delegates apart from lakhs of visitors.
The Konkan Daiz Yatra, which was started in 1939 in Mumbai, is the oldest Konkani organisation. The Konkani Bhasha Mandal was born in Mumbai on April 5, 1942 during the Third All India Conference. On December 28, 1984, Goa Konkani Akademi (GKA) was founded by the Government of Goa to promote Konkani language, literature and culture. The Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK) is a popular research institute based in the Goan capital Panaji, which works on issues related to the Konkani language, literature, culture and education. The Dalgado Konkani Academy is a popular Konkani organisation based in Panaji.
The Konkani Triveni Kala Sangam is one more famed Konkani organisation in Mumbai, which is engaged in the vocation of patronizing Konkani language through theatre movement. The Konkani Bhas Ani Sanskriti Pratistan (Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation) is actively involved in the development and research of the Konkani language. The Government of Karnataka established the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Akademy on 20 April 1994. The World Konkani Centre has been established by the Konkani Bhas Ani Sanskriti Pratistan (Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation) in Mangalore. The Konkani Ekvott is an umbrella organisation of the various Konkani bodies in Goa.
Some people from the part of India known as Konkan speak Konkani language. Konkan is on the west coast of India.
The name Konkani means "from the Konkan". The word Konkan means corner(kona) and piece/part of earth (kana). The name of the language comes from the place where it is spoken.
The people who speak Konkani language are called as Konkani people or Konkanis.
People write Konkani in many different scripts(writing systems or alphabets). People from different regions use different scripts. Konkani people from Goa and Maharashtra use Devanagari script. Konkani people from Karnataka use Kannada script. People in Goa use Roman script. Konkani Muslims use Arabic script. Konkani people from Kerala use Malayalam script . Devanagari is the official script.