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An Indo-Aryan language, Konkani is mainly spoken in the Konkan coast of India. Read on to know about its origin, literature and writing style.

Konkani Language

Konkani is an Indo-Aryan language. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and is spoken in the Konkan coast of India. This region comprises the Konkan division of Maharashtra, Goa, Canara, i.e. coastal Karnataka, and a few pockets in Kerala. Depending upon the region, the language has a different dialect, pronunciation style, vocabulary, tone and significant differences in grammar. Its two individual languages, Konkani and Goan Konkani has approximately 7.6 million speakers. Konkani is the official language in the Indian state of Goa and is one of the official languages of India. Konkani does not have a unique script. Devanagari has been authorized as the official script.

History
Konkani, as a language, flourished in Goa. The Konkani language was developed primarily in Gomantak, now Goa in the Konkan region. There are two theories regarding the origin of Konkani. One says that the Brahmins, who lived along the banks of the Saraswati River, must have migrated to Gomantak during the period when seismic activity in the Himalayas made the river run underground around 1900 BCE. Their own dialect of Shauraseni Prakrit, over the time evolved into modern Konkani. Another theory states that Konkani is a Sanskritised version of a language spoken by the Kokna tribe and the Aryans who came to the Konkan picked up the language and added various Sanskrit words.

Scripts
Konkani is written in a number of scripts. Devanagari is the official script for Konkani in Goa, whereas Roman script is also popular in Goa. Amongst the Konkani population of Karnataka, the Kannada script is used. Malayalam script is used by the Konkani community in Kerala state, centered on the cities of Cochin and Kozhikode. Arabic script is used by Konkani Muslims in coastal Maharashtra and Bhatkal taluka of Karnataka to write Konkani.

Dialects
Despite having a small population, Konkani language shows varieties of dialects. The dialect of Konkani can easily be classified according to the region, religion, caste and local tongue influence. Different researchers have classified the dialects differently. N. G. Kalelkar's classification is based on the historical events and cultural ties of the speakers and he has broadly classified the dialects into three main groups:
  • Northern Konkani: These are the dialects mainly spoken in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra with strong cultural ties to Marathi.
  • Central Konkani: It is the dialects spoken in Goa, where Konkani came in close contact with Portuguese language and culture.
  • Southern Konkani: The dialects which are spoken in the Canara region of Karnataka which came in close contact with Tulu and Kannada.
Ethnologue (ISO) classification is an another classification which is broadly divided into
  • Goan Konkani
  • Konkani (individual language) is commonly identified as a dialect of Marathi.