Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona


South Asia Regional Studies Department
Course Title   SARS 260560 – BEGINNING KANNADA
Instructor       Humsini Arakali


The overall objective of the course is to introduce new language learners and heritage learners to spoken and written forms of Kannada as currently used by the native speakers of the language.  Specifically, the course aims at achieving levels of proficiency in various areas as indicated below.
a.       Reading
         Mastery of Kannada alphabet and the table of consonants with various vowel combinations
         Ability to read and comprehend simple stories in Kannada
b.      Writing
         Ability to write all the letters of the alphabet and consonant-vowel combinations, and conjuncts
         Improved penmanship through learning the formation of letters and proper strokes to use, by using standard printed aids.
         Ability to write short narratives
         Write letters to native Kannada speaking relatives (heritage learners).
c.       Speaking
         Ability to pronounce Kannada sounds correctly (vowels, consonants, compound sounds, aspirates, etc.
         Acquisition of essential vocabulary words to make simple day-to-day conversation in variety of situations using idiomatic Kannada with proper syntax
         Ability to ask questions and get information using appropriate words and phrases in the context of given situations, e.g., visit to a restaurant, meeting an elder relative, asking for directions, shopping (using role playing and cue cards)
d.      Comprehension
         Ability to listen to, comprehend, and summarize extempore in simple words, a passage, audio/film clip, or simple song
Instructional Media  
Large-scale alphabet charts, Karnataka map, pictures, CD and cassette tapes, film clips
Spoken Kannada, by William Bright, Shanta Rau, and Meera Narvekar
Conversational Kannada, by U.P. Upadhyaya and N.D. Krishnamurthy
Kannada-English Dictionary, by Prabhu Shankara, R.L. Anantharamaiah, and B.V. Sreedhar
Kannada Teacher, by N.N. Kulkarni
Kannada Primer, Government of Karnataka
Sumana, A Language Course in Kannada, Book III, Oxford University press  
 Subj:    Kannada Chair at U. of Pennsylvania
Date:    8/21/01 8:24:21 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From:    haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn.edu (Harold F. Schiffman)
To:    cm@kar.nic.in
CC:    smkrishna@bangaloreit.com, cmk@bangaloreit.com, NovaMed@aol.com (V. M. Kumaraswamy)

The Honorable Chief Minister
Hon. Sri S. M. Krishna,

Respected Sir,

I am writing to you at the suggestion of Mr. V.M. Kumaraswamy, of the
Association of Kannada Kuuta’s of America, which has been recently
proposing the establishment of a Chair for Kannada Studies at an American
University.  We at the University of Pennsylvania have welcomed this
endeavor, as we have an interest in Kannada that dates back a long time,
and have other resources that would help nurture this position were it to
be established.  The University of Pennsylvania has the oldest department
of South Asian Studies in the US and teaches a number of modern and
classical South Asian Languages, either in the department itself or in
collaboration with the Penn Language Center. I recently completed a term
as Director of the Penn Language Center and have worked on Kannada and
Tamil languages over a 35-year career in academia.

I think there are a number of reasons why establishment of a Kannada chair
would redound to the benefit of Kannadigas everywhere.  One is that, as
you know, the International Literacy Institute here at Penn has recently
concluded an agreement with your government to work on literacy in
Karnataka State.  Presumably this will take the form of literacy in
Kannada, since that is the greatest need for the people.  We in the Penn
Language Center (PLC) and South Asian Studies (SARS) have the expertise in
the language that will be an integral part of such a program;
additionally, we have the expertise both in pedagogy (how best to teach
South Asian languages to Americans) and web-based resources for
language teaching.  Our Language Resource and Research Center (LaRRC) is
specifically devoted to providing these kinds of assistance.  We have
recently started a Kannada page which can be viewed at
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/kannada which will be modeled on our more
extensive web pages for other S. Asian languages such as Tamil
(http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/tamilweb/tamil.html), Hindi, and others.

As you know Bangalore is the center for IT initiatives in India, and as
more and more foreigners come to Bangalore, being able to learn some
Kannada for getting around in local places would be an advantage. One of
the things we have learned about teaching Indian languages to foreigners
is that spoken language must be taught in addition to, but separately
from, the literary languages, such as formal literary Kannada.  The page I
mentioned above concentrates on such spoken material; the next step in
offerings there will be a grammar of Spoken Kannada which is now being
converted to html and will be a resource where students can look up
questions they have about the grammar.

Eventually we would propose, as part of the Kannada Chair, to develop more
extensive materials, such as a collection of readings in modern Kannada
(selections from the best writers) which we would provide with vocabulary,
grammatical explanations, cultural notes, and other resources.  As an
example of this you could see our Tamil page:


Beyond this, we would also ideally have on line a grammar of literary
Kannada (in English) but there is now no recent book in print for this;
even the missionary grammar by Spencer is not available.  Hopefully an
updated grammar of Literary Kannada could also be provided, were funds

As part of the AKKA initiative we have been discussing how to collaborate
with other India-based resource networks so that materials and other
things available in India could be put on line.  Recently we began
discussions with the Director of the CIIL in Mysore, Dr. Udaya Narayan
Singh, on how to tap into the CIIL’s resources that will be put on line
there.  Dr. Singh will be coming to America in October and we hope to
finalize some agreements with him at that time.

There are many more things I could say about this, but suffice it to say
that we are very excited to be part of this project.  I first began
studying Kannada in the summer of 1964 and continued studying the language
when I was in India in 1965-66, then taught it in Peace Corps and in other
venues (U. of Washington, U. of Texas).  Now it would be the culmination
of a dream if we could establish a program here that Kannadigas of America
could be proud of, which would make the Kannada language known far beyond
its roots in Karnataka.

With best wishes,


Harold F. Schiffman

Harold F. Schiffman

Professor of Dravidian Linguistics and Culture          Research Director
Dept. of South Asia Regional Studies      Penn Language Center
820 Williams Hall, Box 6305                715-16, Williams Hall Box  6305

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-5825                                        (215) 898-6039
Fax:  (215) 573-2138                          Fax (215) 573-2139

Email:  haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn                  plc@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
WWW:  http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/    http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~plc/



January 25, 2008 - Posted by | KANNADA teaching in USA

1 Comment »

  1. respected sir, i am a doctorate degree holder in kannada (yakshagana) and interested to teach in american universities. please inform about the chances of employment.
    yours Dr.K.vasantha Bharadwaj

    Comment by DR.KABBINALE VASANTHA BHARADWAJ, No.9, II Floor, Maruti Temple Road, Kuvempunagar, Mysore 570009 Karnataka, India | April 21, 2012 | Reply

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