Tuesday, March 20, 2007

History & Intro ( Wiki Based )

The Kannada script is an abugida of the Brahmic family, primarily to write the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages in India. It is also used for Konkani, Tulu Telugu and Kodava languages.


The script has forty-nine characters in its alphasyllabary and is phonemic. The Kannada character set is almost identical to that of other Indian languages. The number of written symbols, however, is far more than the 49 characters in the alphasyllabary, because different characters can be combined to form compound characters (ottaksharas). Each written symbol in the Kannada script corresponds with one syllable, as opposed to one phoneme in languages like English. The Kannada writing system is an abugida, with consonants appearing with an inherent vowel.

The characters are classified into three categories: swaras (vowels), vyanjanas (consonants) and yogavaahas (part vowel, part consonants).


There are thirteen vowels (swaras):

(a), (aa), (e), (ee), (u), (uu), (rr), (a~), (ea), (ai), (o), (oo), (ou)


The yogavaahas (part-vowel, part consonant) include two letters:

  1. The anusvara: (am)
  2. The visarga: (ah)


Two types of consonants are identified in Kannada: the structured consonants and the unstructured consonants. The structured consonants are classified according to where the tongue touches the palate of the mouth and are classified accordingly into five structured groups.

Structured consonants

voiceless voiceless
voiced voiced
Velars (ka) (kha) (ga) (gha) (nga)
Palatals (ca) (cha) (ja) (jha) (nya)
Retroflex (tta) (ttha) (dda) (ddha) (nna)
Dentals (ta) (tha) (da) (dha) (na)
Labials (pa) (pha) (ba) (bha) (ma)

Unstructured consonants

The unstructured consonants are consonants that do not fall into any of the above structures:

(ya), (ra), (la), (va), (sha), (shha), (sa), (ha), (lla)


The decimal numbers in the script are:

(0), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9)


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