The Kannada alphabet developed from the Kadamba and Cālukya scripts, descendents of Brahmi which were used between the 5th and 7th centuries AD. These scripts developed into the Old Kannada script, which by about 1500 had morphed into the Kannada and Telugu scripts. Under the influence of Christian missionary organizations, Kannada and Telugu scripts were standardized at the beginning of the 19th century.
- Kannada is a alphasyllabary in which all consonants have an inherent vowel. Other vowels are indicated with diacritics, which can appear above, below, before or after the consonants.
- When they appear the the beginning of a syllable, vowels are written as independent letters.
- When consonants appear together without intervening vowels, the second consonant is written as a special conjunt symbol, usually below the first.
Used to write:
Kannada or Canarese, the official language of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Kannada is a Dravidian language spoken by about 44 million people in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
A selection of conjunct consonants
Sample text in Kannada
Ellā mānavarū svatantrarāgiyē janisiddāre. Hāgū ghanate mattu hakku gaḷalli samānarāgiddāre. Vivēka mattu antaḥkaraṇagaḷannu paḍedavarāddarinda avaru paraspara sahōdara bhāvadinda vartisabēku.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Thanks to Arvind Iyengar for providing the sample text.