Konkani language: Wikis


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कोंकणी, Konknni, ಕೊಂಕಣಿ, കൊങ്കണി
Pronunciation kõkɵɳi (standard), kõkɳi (popular)
Spoken in India
Region Konkan
Total speakers 3.6 million
Ranking 123
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Devanagari (official)[1], Roman[2], and Arabic
Official status
Official language in India Goa, India
Regulated by Various academies and the Government of Goa[3]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 none
ISO 639-2 kok
ISO 639-3 gom
Distribution of native Konkani speakers in India
Indic script
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

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.


Geographical distribution

Modern day Goan Konkani in Nagari script

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] A very large number of Konkanis stay outside India, either as expatriates or citizens of other countries (NRIs). Determining their numbers is difficult.

Ethnologue puts the number of Konkani speakers at 3.6 million in 2000.[7]




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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[8]

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.[10]

Studying early Maharashtri compilations many linguists have called Konkani as the first-born daughter of Maharashtri.[11] This old language that was prevalent contemporary to old Marathi is found to be distinct from its counterpart.[11]

It was influenced later by Magadhi Prakrit[12] and the overtones of Pali[13] (the liturgical language of the Buddhists) that played a very important role in development of Konkani Apabhramsha grammar and vocabulary.[10]

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.[14] The major Sauraseni influence on Konkani,is the ao sound found at the end of many nouns in Sauraseni,which becomes o in Konkani,[15] e.g.: dando, suno, raakhano.

This form of old Konkani is referred to as Paishachi apabhramsha by some linguists.[8] 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.[13]

The language is endowed with overall Sanskrit complexity and grammatical structure, that developed a lexical fund of its own.[13]

The following table illustraes how modern Konkani words have been derived from Prakrit which in turn have Sanskrit roots[16]

Origin of few Konkani words:

Konkani Prakrit Sanskrit
बोकडो,Bokado(goat) बक्करो,Bakkaro बर्कर,Barkara
विंचु,Vicchu(scorpion) विच्छुओ,Vicchuo वृश्चिक,Vrischika
भाव,Bhav(brother) भाओ,Bhao भ्राता,Bhrata
शेत,Shet(field) छेत्त,Chett क्षेत्र,Kshetra
घावो,Ghavo घाओ,Ghao घात,Ghata
कांटो,Kanto(thorn) कंटओ,Kantao कंटक,Kantaka
माथें,Mathe मथ्थओ,Matthao मस्तक,Mastaka
न्हंय,Nhay(river) णई,Nayee नदी,Nadi
Source:The Koṅkaṇî language and literature by Joseph Gerson Cunha,pages:50[16]

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.[16]


The Proto-Australoids also known as Shabars[17] 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.[16] 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,[citation needed] the Mediterraneans[citation needed] also exerted an impact on this language. These peoples can be collectively called the Dravidians.[18] Words like tandul, narikel or naall, dholl, madval and others have Dravidian origin.


Kannada Influence

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.[19] Another reason Kannada influence on Konkani is proximity of original Konkani speaking territory to Karnataka.[20]

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-.[21] Kannada influence is more evident in Konkani syntax.the question markers in yes/no questions and the negative marker are sentence final.[21] Copula deletion in Konkani is remarkably similar to Kannada.[21]

Other foreign languages

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.[20]

Portuguese era Konkani

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.[citation needed]

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.[22]

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.

Migration and fragmentation

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.[23] Another migrant community that picked up Konkani was the Siddis who were sailor-warriors from Ethiopia.[24]

Early epigraphy

  • The earliest inscription in Konkani found in the village of Aravalem, in Goa dated back in the Gupta period in Brahmi script. It reads:
Shachipurachya Shiraari

on the top of Shacipura.[8]

  • Another inscription in Devanagari, of Shilahara King Aaparditya of the year 1166 AD says:[8]
Ata tu jo konuyyre shasnolpi techya vedyanth devachi bhal sakutmbi apadem,tehechi may gadhavem
  • The inscription found at Shravanabelagola mentions:
Chvundaraje karaviyale, gangaraje sutatale karaviyale

Chamundaraja got it done, Gangaraja got it done all around[8]
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.[13]

Konkani Inscription with 'Maee Shenvi' of 1413AD, Nagueshi, Goa.
  • However,most of the other stone and copper-plate inscriptions found in Goa and Konkan are written in an amalgam of Konkani and old-Marathi, written in Nagari as well as Goy-kanadi script. The grammar and the base of such texts is in Konkani, whereas very few verbs are in Marathi.[25] One such stone inscription or shilalekh is found at the Nageshi temple in Goa (dating back to the year 1463 AD) mentions that the (then) ruler of Goa, Devaraja Gominam, had gifted land to the Nagueshi Maharudra temple when Nanjanna Gosavi was the religious head or the Pratihasta of the state. It mentions words like, kullgga, kulaagra, naralel, tambavem, tilel.[26]


  • Konkani was commonly referred to as lingua canarim by the Portuguese.[27]
  • It was also known as lingua brahmana by the Catholic missionaries.[27]
  • Portuguese later started referring Konkani as Lingua Concanim.[27]



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.[14]


Vowels in Konkani language

One of the most distinguishing features of Konkani phonology is the use of ɵ, the Close-mid central vowel, instead of theschwa as used in Hindi and Marathi.

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.


  Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Alveopalatal Velar Glottal



    s   ɕ   h
Nasals m

ɲ ŋ  
Liquids ʋ
  l ɾ
ɭ ɽ j    

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.[5]


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.[22]

Konkani Alphabets
IPA Symbol Modified Devanagari Alphabet Standard Devanagari Alphabet Roman Script Kannada Alphabet Malayalam Alphabet Arabic Alphabet
/ɵ/ o ಅ/ಒ ?
/aː/ a ?
/i/ i ?
/iː/ i ?
/u/ u ?
/uː/ u ?
/e/ e ?
/ɛ/ e ?
/æ/ no symbol e ಎ or ಐ ?
/ɵi/ ai/oi ?
/o/ o ?
/ɔ/ o ?
/ɵu/ au/ou ?
/ⁿ/ अं अं om/on ಅಂ അം ?
/k/ k ಕ್ ക് ک
/kʰ/ kh ಖ್ ഖ് که
/ɡ/ g ಗ್ ഗ് ک
/ɡʱ/ gh ಘ್ ഘ് گه
/ŋ/ ंग ng ങ് ڭ
/ts/ च़ च़ ch ಚ್ ത്സ് څ
/c/ ch ಚ್ ച് چ
/cʰ/ chh ಛ್ ഛ് چه
/z/ ज़ ज़ z ز
/ɟ/ j ಜ್ ജ് ج
/zʱ/ झ़ झ़ zh ಝ್ ഝ് زه
/ɟʱ/ jh ಝ್ ഝ് جه
/ɲ/ nh ഞ് ڃ
/ʈ/ tt ಟ್ ട് ټ
/ʈʰ/ tth ಠ್ ഠ് ټه
/ɖ/ dd ಡ್ ഡ് ډ
/ɖʱ/ ddh ಢ್ ഢ് ډه
/ɳ/ nn ಣ್ ണ് ڼ
/t̪/ t ತ್ ത് ت
/t̪ʰ/ th ಥ್ ഥ് ته
/d̪/ d ದ್ ദ് د
/d̪ʱ/ dh ಧ್ ധ് ده
/n/ n ನ್ ന് ن
/p/ p ಪ್ പ് پ
/f/ फ़ f ಫ್ ഫ് ف
/b/ b ಬ್ ബ് ب
/bʱ/ bh ಭ್ ഭ് به
/m/ m ಮ್ മ് م
/j/ i/e/ie ಯ್ യ് ې
/ɾ/ r ರ್ ര് ر
/l/ l ಲ್ ല് ل
/ʃ/ x ಶ್ ശ് ش
/ʂ/ x ಷ್ ഷ് ?
/s/ s ಸ್ സ് س
/ɦ/ h ಹ್ ഹ് ?
/ɭ/ ll ಳ್ ള് ?
/ʋ/ v ವ್ വ് ڤ


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.[22]

Other researchers have classified the dialects differently.

N. G. Kalelkar's classification

Based on the historical events and cultural ties of the speakers, N. G. Kalelkar has broadly classified the dialects into three main groups:[22]

  • Northern Konkani: Dialects spoken in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra with strong cultural ties to Marathi.
  • Central Konkani: Dialects in Goa, where Konkani came in close contact with Portuguese language and culture.
  • Southern Konkani: Dialects spoken in the Canara region of Karnataka which came in close contact with Tulu and Kannada.

Ethnologue (ISO) classification

ISO 639-3 classifies Konkani generic macrolanguage (ISO 639-3:kok) into[28]:

  • Goan Konkani (ISO 639-3: gom )
  • Konkani (individual language) (ISO 639-3: knn)

Of these, Konkani (individual language) is commonly identified as a dialect of Marathi (see Marathi language#Konkani).

The various dialects of Konkani macrolanguage as reported by Ethnologue are:

Related languages/dialects

Other languages/dialects which are included by ISO 639-3 in the Konkani language family[29] but may be not be regarded as dialects of Konkani (they may be regarded as sister languages):

  • Katkari (kfu)
  • Kukna (kex)
  • Phudagi (phd)
  • Samvedi (smv)
  • Varli (vav)

Modern day Konkani

Konkani revival

Shenoi Goembab, respected as a pioneer of modern Konkani literature and a figurehead for Konkani unity

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.[30] His death anniversary, 9 April, is celebrated as World Konkani Day (Viswa Konknni Dis)[31].

Post-independence period

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.[30] However, English, Hindi and Marathi continued to be the preferred languages for official communication, while Konkani was sidelined.[32]

Recognition as an independent language

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.

Official language status

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.[32]

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:

  1. The fragmentation of Konkani into various, sometimes mutually unintelligible dialects.
  2. The Portuguese influence in Goa, especially on Catholics.
  3. Strong degree of bilingualism of Konkani Hindus in Goa and coastal Maharashtra with Marathi
  4. Progressive inroads made by Urdu into the Muslim communities.
  5. Mutual animosity among various religious and caste groups; including a secondary status of Konkani culture to religion.
  6. Migration of Konkanis to various parts of India and around the world.
  7. Lack of opportunities to study Konkani in schools and colleges. Even till recently there were few Konkani schools in Goa. Populations outside the native Konkani areas have absolutely no access to Konkani education, even informally.
  8. Preference among Konkani parents to speak to their children in "Potaachi Bhas" (language of the stomach) over "Maaim Bhas"(mother tongue) Konkani; primarily in English to help their children gain a grip over English in schools.[22]

Efforts have been made to stop this downward trend of usage of Konkani[citation needed], 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 [22][33] and hence had a bearing on the future of Goa.

Konkani–Marathi dispute

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.[22]

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.[22][33] 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.[22]

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.

Script and dialect issues

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[32]. 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[32]. 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.[34]

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.[35]

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.


The campus of the Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr (TSKK), a research institute working on issues related to the Konkani language, located at Panaji in Goa

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.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38] The Government of Karnataka established the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Akademy on 20 April 1994.[39] The World Konkani Centre has been established by the Konkani Bhas Ani Sanskriti Pratistan (Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation) in Mangalore.[40] The Konkani Ekvott is an umbrella organisation of the various Konkani bodies in Goa.


Cover of Dovtrina Christam by Fr. Thomas Stephens, first published work in Konkani, and any Indian language
  • The first known printed book in Konkani was written by an English Jesuit priest, Fr. Thomas Stephens in 1622, and entitled Dovtrina Cristam Em Lingoa Brahmana Canarim (Old Portuguese for: Christian Doctrine in the Canarese Brahman Language).
  • Konkani Mansagangotri — Prof. Olivinho Gomes
  • Vajralikhani — Shenoi Goembab
  • Konkani Bhashecho Itihas — Shenoi Goembab
  • Sollavea Xekddeantlem Konknni Mhabharot: Adi Porv — collection of 18 stories from the Mahabharat epic. It was written down in the 16th century by a Jesuit in the Roman script using diacritics. It is probably the oldest form of Konkani available today.

Miscellaneous facts

  • There is some disagreement about whether the name "Konkani" was always the accepted name for the language. The earliest reference to the Konkani language comes in a devotional poem by Sant Namdev(c.1270-c.1350 CE) where he has written a stanza in Konkani.
  • An international ad campaign by Nike for the 2007 Cricket World Cup featured a Konkani song Rav Patrao Rav as the background theme. It was based on the tune of an older song Bebdo, composed by Chris Perry and sung by Lorna. The new lyrics written by Agnello Dias (who worked in the ad agency that made the ad), recomposed by Ram Sampat and sung by Ella Castellino.
  • Dolla Nandigudda is a famous Konkani comedian. He is referred to as the Johny Lever of Konkani cinema/drama. Dolla is the uncle of film-director and actor Sandeep Malani. Sandeep Malani has acted as a hero in the Konkani film 'Bogsanhe' directed by Dr. Richard Castelino.
  • A Konkani cultural event Konkani Nirantari held in Mangalore on 26 and 27 January 2008; has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for holding a 40-hour-long non-stop musical singing marathon by beating the Brazilian musical troupe who had previously held the record of singing non-stop for 36 hours.[41]
  • A Konkani film "Paltadacho Munis," or "The Man Beyond the Bridge" got selected in The Toronto Film Festival among 300 films being played there.

See also


  1. ^ Devanagari has been promulgated as the official script.
  2. ^ Roman script is not mandated as official script by law. However an ordinance passed by the Government of Goa allows the use of Roman script for official communication.
  3. ^ "The Goa Daman and Diu Official Language Act" (PDF). Government of India. http://india.gov.in/allimpfrms/allacts/419.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  4. ^ Kurzon, Dennis. Where East looks West: success in English in Goa and on the Konkan Coast. pp. 25–30. 
  5. ^ a b Caroline Menezes (The National Institute for Japanese language, Tokyo, Japan). "The question of Konkani?" (PDF). Project D2, Typology of Information Structure". http://www.sfb632.uni-potsdam.de/conference/posters/D2_Konkani.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  6. ^ "ABSTRACT OF SPEAKERS' STRENGTH OF LANGUAGES AND MOTHER TONGUES - 2001". Census of India. http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/Census_Data_Online/Language/Statement1.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  7. ^ a b Ethnologue report for language code:gom
  8. ^ a b c d e f Sardessai, Manoharray (2000). "The land ,the people and the language". A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992 (1st ed.). Sahitya Akademi. pp. 1–14. ISBN 9788172016647. 
  9. ^ Gomes, Olivinho (1999). Old Konkani language and literature: the Portuguese role. Konkani Sorospot Prakashan, 1999. pp. 30. 
  10. ^ a b Gomes, Olivinho (1999). Old Konkani language and literature: the Portuguese role. Konkani Sorospot Prakashan, 1999. pp. 28,29. 
  11. ^ a b Ayyappapanicker, K. Medieval Indian literature: an anthology, By . ,. Volume 3. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 246. 
  12. ^ Wilford, Major F. (1812). "II". Asiatic researches or transactions of the society instituted in Bengal. Eleventh,. pp. 93. 
  13. ^ a b c d Ayyappapanicker, K. Medieval Indian literature: an anthology. Volume 3. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 256. 
  14. ^ a b Bhat, V. Nithyanantha. The Konkani language: historical and linguistic perspectives. Sukṛtīndra Oriental Research Institute. pp. 5. 
  15. ^ Bhat, V. Nithyanantha. The Konkani language: historical and linguistic perspectives. Sukṛtīndra Oriental Research Institute. pp. 12. 
  16. ^ a b c d Gerson Cunha, Joseph (1991). The Koṅkaṇî language and literature. Asian Educational Services,. pp. 17–20. ISBN 9788120605695. 
  17. ^ Gomes, Olivinho (1987). Village Goa: a study of Goan social structure and change. S. Chand,. pp. 49. 
  18. ^ Gomes, Olivinho (1987). Village Goa: a study of Goan social structure and change. S. Chand,. pp. 50. 
  19. ^ Mitragotri, Vithal Raghavendra (1999). A socio-cultural history of Goa from the Bhojas to the Vijayanagara. Institute Menezes Braganza, 1999. pp. 268. 
  20. ^ a b Sardessai, Manoharray (2000). "The foreign influence". A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992 (1st ed.). Sahitya Akademi. pp. 21–30. ISBN 9788172016647. 
  21. ^ a b c George, Cardona; Dhanesh Jain. The Indo-Aryan Languages. pp. 840. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mother Tongue blues - Madhavi Sardesai
  23. ^ Konkani History
  24. ^ People of India - Siddis
  25. ^ D'Souza, Edwin. V.J.P. Saldanha. pp. 3–5. 
  26. ^ Da Cruz, Antonio (1974). Goa: men and matters. s.n., 1974. pp. 321. 
  27. ^ a b c Sardessai, Manohar Rai (2000). "Missionary period". A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 30–70. 
  28. ^ ISO 639 code sets
  29. ^ Ethnologue report for Konkani
  30. ^ a b Goanews - By Sandesh Prabhudesai
  31. ^ Goanews - By Sandesh Prabhudesai
  32. ^ a b c d *** Goanet Reader: Puzzle wrapped in an enigma,understanding Konkani in Goa
  33. ^ a b Language in India
  34. ^ Goa group wants Konkani in Roman script
  35. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka / Mangalore News : `Kannada script must be used to teach Konkani'
  36. ^ "Goa Konkani Akademi — promoting the development of Konkani language, literature and culture". Goa Konkani Akademi. http://www.goakonkaniakademi.org/. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  37. ^ "Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr". http://www.tskk.org/. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  38. ^ "Konkani Appeals". Ekhabbar. http://www.ekhabbar.com/appeal.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  39. ^ "Konkani". Kalaangann,Mandd Sobhann (The Konkani Heritage Centre). http://www.kalaangann.com/konkani.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  40. ^ "Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Academy to be inaugurated in Panaji". The Hindu. http://www.thehindu.com/2006/11/15/stories/2006111516300300.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  41. ^ "Mangalore: Guinness Adjudicator Hopeful of Certifying Konkani Nirantari". Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd Mangalore. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=42855&n_tit=Mangalore%3A+Guinness+Adjudicator+Hopeful+of+Certifying+Konkani+Nirantari. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 

External links

Simple English

Konkani is a language from India. Konkani belongs to Indo-Aryan family of languages. It is the official language of Goa, a state in India.


Places where people speak Konkani

Some people from the part of India known as Konkan speak Konkani language. Konkan is on the west coast of India.

Meaning of Name

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.

Writing systems

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.


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