[ kah-nuh-duh, kan-uh- ]
/ ˈkɑ nə də, ˈkæn ə- /
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a Dravidian language spoken mainly in the state of Karnataka, in southwest India.
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Also called Kanarese.

Words nearby Kannada

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does Kannada mean?

Kannada is the name of a language mainly spoken in the Indian state of Karnataka.

The Republic of India is a south Asian country made up of 25 states and 7 territories, with the state of Karnataka located in the southwest. Kannada is one of the languages that make up the Dravidian family of languages native to southern India and Sri Lanka. Kannada is also known as Kanarese.

Kannada is the state language of Karnataka and is among the most popular languages in India. Worldwide, over 40 million people speak Kannada.

Why is Kannada important?

The language of Kannada is recognized as the state language of Karnataka and is primarily spoken there and in neighboring states. Yet this language has a long history and millions of people still speak it today.

Kannada is the one of the oldest of the Dravidian languages, alongside Tamil. The first written records of Kannada writing come from around around 450. As with almost all other Indian writing, Kanada descends from the Brahmi writing system.

Like many languages, Kannada has changed greatly over its long history. While initially independent of Sanskrit and Tamil, Kannada were influenced by both these languages over time. It was also influenced by Karnataka politics, shifts in religion, and the presence of Christian missionaries. The modern version of Kannada, sometimes called New Kannada or Hosagannada, is thought to be only several hundred years old.

Kannada has numerous regional dialects and three caste-based dialects, often separated into Brahmans (people in the highest caste), non-Brahmans, and Harijans (people in the lowest caste).

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In 2008, the Indian government officially recognized Kannada as a classical language. Legally, this means Kannada is acknowledged as being over 1,500 years old, having a rich heritage, and being distinct from any other language. Kannada was the third language (after Tamil and Sanskrit) to earn this distinction in India.

What are real-life examples of Kannada?

This video gives an example of what the Kannada language sounds like:

Kannada is almost exclusively mentioned by people who speak it or are familiar with Indian culture.

What other words are related to Kannada?

Quiz yourself!

Kannada is a language spoken mainly in Karnataka, a state in the country of:

A. China
B. Pakistan
C. India
D. Indonesia

How to use Kannada in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Kannada

/ (ˈkɑːnədə, ˈkæn-) /

a language of S India belonging to the Dravidian family of languages: the state language of Karnataka, also spoken in Tamil Nadu and MaharashtraAlso called: Kanarese
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012