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Kannada is the State Language of Karnataka. Kannada - aptly described as 'sirigannada' (known to few as Kanarese) is one of the oldest Dravidian languages and is spoken in its various dialects by roughly 45 million people worldwide.
The Kannada language has been spoken for about 2500 years, with the Kannada writing system being in use for about the last 1900 years. The initial development of the Kannada language is similar to that of other Dravidian languages, notably Tamil and Telugu. During later centuries, Kannada, along with Telugu, has been highly influenced by Sanskrit vocabulary and literary styles.
Kannada is a highly inflected language with three genders (masculine, feminine, neutral or common) and two numbers (singular, plural). It is inflected for gender, number and tense, among other things.
There is also a sharp distinction between the spoken and written forms of the language. Spoken Kannada tends to vary from region to region. The written form is more or less constant throughout Karnataka, however. The ethnologue identifies about 20 dialects of Kannada. Notable of them are Kodava (spoken in Coorg district), Kunda (spoken exclusively in Kundapura), Havyaka (spoken mainly by Havyaka Brahmanas of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Sagara, and Udupi districts), Are Bhashe (spoken mainly in Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada), Soliga Kannada, Badaga Kannada, Gulbarga Kannada, Hubli Kannada, etc. (Source: Wikipedia.org)
Kannada is one of the 22 official languages of India and is the official language of the state of Karnataka.
Kannada has now received the Classical Language status effective November 1, 2008. After years of bitter struggle, Kannada has finally got the classical language status. The Union government announced that Kannada, besides Telugu, would get the classical tag on the occasion of Rajyotsava day.
A centre of excellence for studies will be set up and UGC will be asked to establish professional chairs in various centreal Universities.