Hey Kid, do you Speak Konkani...?

Mar 2, 2010

Hey kid, do you speak Konkani”.”

What? NO NO, My Grandparents used to”.

Well these are the exact words we get to hear from Mangalorean kids nowadays. Konkani-which is our Mother Tongue, is beginning to become our Grandmother’s tongue. If the same attitude of ours continues, the day is not far away, when we have to show our kids scripts of Konkani in museums. 

Well to start off about our Konkani, history of our Language dates back to 1900 BC.The website Wikipedia gives us a thorough insight into this (Not all is true). Konkani is one of the official languages of India and the official language of GOA.It is spoken by people, basically Roman Catholics in Mangalore, North Kanara and some parts of Kerala. Muslims in Bhatkal speak Konkani as well. There are many sects of Hindus who speak Konkani too. Hence Konkani speaking belt stretches from northern Kerala through Mangalore and ends up in Goa.There are different dialects of this amazing language, though it doesn’t have a script.Goan Konkani is completely different from Mangalorean Konkani, which in turn is completely different from what the Keralites speak.

Coming back to how Konkani originated in Mangalore, it seems people from Goa, because of the Goa Inquisition act, fled their state to come and settle in Basrur, a small town near Kundapur.They were skilled farmers and the King of Nagara(maybe Hosanagara now) embraced them and soon their population began to spread across the coastal belt. This is one of the theories. There are many more theories about the origin of Konkani in our city. Well History can be found out by digging into books, surfing the net etc, but at present what we need to do is prevent our language from becoming history.

Let me begin with how badly Konkani is faring in cities, especially in Mangalore city. First and foremost, most of the churches have English masses and most of our younger generation attend English service. Only the old and middle aged go for Konkani mass. The Konkani mass is also called “Mass for the OLD”. Being a Konkani speaking community, we, ourselves, are insulting it. We should learn a lesson or two from Keralites and Tamilians.Whenever two Keralites meet, they tend to speak mostly in Malayalam and when we Mangaloreans meet, we try to help each other by speaking in the QUEENS LANGAUAGE.We are so generous J.Moreover nowadays the priest’s too speak in English. Maybe they want to put to test their English language speaking skills, taught in the seminary .As a matter of fact, I have a friend who was in the seminary for just over a year and I asked him what exactly they taught in one year. His answer was just one word “ENGLISH”

We ourselves use so many other words from other languages when we speak Konkani. We don’t speak proper Konkani and if spoken to, we end up not understanding a thing/word. Words from different languages especially have entered Konkani eg late, care, wait etc. We often use these words in our conversation. Hopefully we don’t forget the actual language altogether. There are numerous people who sing, write and play dramas in Konkani. I cannot name them because I do not know their names, the reason being I have hardly read any Konkani books. The younger generation should be encouraged to read more Konkani literature, listen to more Konkani songs, and watch more Konkani plays.

There are many dialects of Konkani as I mentioned earlier. According to me within the Mangalorean Konkani there are numerous dialects. I classify them as

US – Canada based Konkani ,Middle eastern Konkani ,Mumbai Konkani ,Mangalore Konkani 

Out of the above mentioned its pure fun to listen to Mumbai Konkani. Phrases like “Mummy te Kashe Morle” (Mummy how did she die),”  Fish aso Kaanta Galenth Atkala”( thorn of the fish has stuck in the throat),” Girthaloy”( you may fall) and many more .Hope one day I would make a full translator of Mumbai  Konkani to English.

Middle eastern and US Konkani is also good to listen to because of the accent and I somewhat feel our Konkani speaking community in USA , Canada and the middle East have taken enough care that their children at least speak Konkani. They have more respect for the language than us. The best part of this Konkani is when grandchildren try to speak to their grandparents in accented Konkani and the poor old people never understand a thing but still are proud of their little ones.

Of course, Speaking in English is good for ones overall personality development, it will be a huge booster in ones CV and will increase job prospects. But at the what expense? Now is the time for us to make amends for our failures so far and make this beautiful language more beautiful.

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

by Anil D'Souza, Halealve
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Comment on this article

  • Xavi, Uk

    Sun, Aug 21 2016

    Long live Konkani!

  • Irsha Dhond, Mumbai

    Mon, May 30 2016

    I eagerly want to learn goan konkani please help me out with some classes in mumbai.

  • Chaitra, Bangalore

    Fri, Apr 03 2015

    Hi...can you please teach me GSB konkani...actually my marriage is fixed in a GSB family,its a intercaste marriage and I want to learn konkani as early as possible...can you help me with this?

  • Jason Serrao, Mangalore/Dubai

    Sun, Dec 08 2013

    This is actually True..1 day we will surely find it in books of history "Konkani Language used to exist in India". I too know very less. but I still has the eagerness to learn more..but will succeed 1 day..

  • Dean, Mangalore

    Fri, Mar 29 2013

    A big konkani state should be formed comprising of Goa ,Karwar, Sindudurg,Ratnagiri,Raigad, Thane,And Kundapur

  • kenneth, Mumbai

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    unfortunately never got to learn my mother tongue now that my mother is no more i have a strong urgent to master the language

  • Rebeka jadhav, Ahmednagar

    Sun, Nov 20 2011

    I want to learn mangolore konkani


    Mon, Mar 14 2011

    hi... i m deepanshu garg.. i want to learn konkani...

  • jeevan rayan ferrao, kenjar(bajpe),U.A.E

    Tue, Jul 27 2010

    Dhev boren korun thuka muja eshta.. thuje sangi hanv ek uthar sangonk ashethan...
    "muja mogacha konkani lokano kainsar thari vosun rava ya jiyeya ek mathr amchi mai bhas visranasthana thumcha thondanth usara...sadhans konkani uloi, konkani shikay ani konkani jiroi...."

  • shreya, Goa, Dubai

    Wed, Jun 23 2010

    i liked the artical, I too love konkani, i feel great when i find someone speaking konkai here.

    One thing i have to make clear that there is a script for konkani

  • Prathima N Kamath, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Jun 02 2010

    I really liked this article and I agree with Anil. Our mother tongue is one characteristic that makes us different from others. Parents should ensure that kids learn their mother tongue from a very young age, so that they will continue to speak throughout their lives. I lived in USA for 15 years and my parents ensured I speak only in Konkani at home. It was easy for me to communicate with my grandparents when they used to visit, because my grandfather knew a bit of English, and my grandmother didn't know any. I encourage all the parents out there to teach their kids the importance of their mother tongue and ensure they speak it everyday. Konkani is a unique language and I have always enjoyed speaking it.

  • jossy barboza, shirva

    Sun, Apr 18 2010

    this is a useless article, very few people are using this and they all are either old or illitrate people

  • Manish Shetty, Udupi/Mangalore

    Sun, Mar 28 2010

    I thought Tulu language was the only language stamped by Kannada. Now I understand that Konkani is facing the same brunt. wait until the formation of the new state Tulunadu. Here konkani will be given equal status as Tulu. we will develop this piece of land and show Karnataka what true administration is.

  • prabhu, mangalore

    Sun, Mar 21 2010

    its always good to speak konkani at home, here the problem is parents at home itself feed children with KONGLISH its their fault not the children. anyway its a good article by the way, good job Mr.Anil.

    Here we are discussing aboutt konkani and some one brings in kannada here, i would like to tel him that kannada is one of dravidian language.

    Kannada script is closely akin to telugu script, so do u use telugu instead of kannada? Its how you respects kannada we respect konkani too...

    Any way guys lets save our konkani, lets be a part of india. and lets save our planet. plz oppose GUNDYA power project which is planed in SHIRADY GHAT karnataka, plz save FORESTS save WILD LIFE save our pristine WESTERN GHATS

  • Vidya, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Mar 10 2010

    Good article on Konkani language. I do wish Konkani language to be well known and get admirable recognition. People like you who make an effort to convey this needs to be appreciated.

  • Alex, Bagalore

    Sat, Mar 06 2010

    One of the major hurdles facing the reviaal of Konkani is the lack of an unfied script. One solution is to take advantage of the popularity of English language. I am a strong advocate of the Latin(a.k.a English alphabet)script usage. Given the importance of English as a business language today, children learn the same right from nursery. Why should Konkani children be burdened with the learning of an additional script like Devanagiri and Kannada? Using the Latin script we can easily leverage the power of the Internet to popularise Konkani. This should see a growth in blogs, forums, free-lance writers coming on-board and thus help build the available literature. This will also help unite the Konkani diaspora spread across the globe. The promoters should seriously consider this,
    otherwise Konkani will stop being a 'popular' language spoken by the Konkan masses and be relegated to literary and cultural circles whose dialect few Konkans can unerstand. One case in point is the Turkish language - the Latin script language was adapted by the reformist Mustafa Kamal in the 1940s. Having said that I still believe Devanagiri is the natural script of Konkani but we need to take drastic measures to save Konkani.

  • Roshan, m'bidri/a'dhabi

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    You Are Welcome Caroline Baye.

  • Ronald, Mangalore

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    Nice thought Anil. However If at all it is possible then i would suggest that there is only one langauge used in the entire world. There are number of advantages such as person travelling anywhere in the world will not have communication problem anywhere. There is no effort to write computer operating systems and softwares in different langauges (e.g: now Microsoft OS and linux OS comes in so many langauges) which is a huge effort. I am not saying that this is something possible. I am just sharing my thought so everyone please bare with me.

  • Don, Mangalore/Canada

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    Well said Anil, I fully agree with you. For all those of you who disagree, you really do not know what you are loosing, until it is lost completely and in time you’re off springs will not look upon you kindly.

    Living in Canada we have tens of millions of people from around the world and one of their regrets they have is they have lost or they are loosing their language and traditions, please take it from me for I have seen it first hand.

    My hats off and sincere thanks to all those out there who are trying hard to retain our culture and language, God bless you all, I sincerely hope and pray that you will be successful

  • Lancy M F , Jeppu/ Pune

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    Nice . congrats Anil. Gud effort. the article is very apt for today. i too am surprised of the awkward distancing to the konkanni language by the modern people of m lore.

    May this open the eyes of many.

  • Lawrence , mangalore

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    nice article Anil .recently i had visited goa and when i stepped out of the railway station i had a feeling like i am back home , the reason was there where so many people talking to each other in konkani . in mlore all the youngsters feel that not talking in konkani is KOOl .even the priests from mlore instead of speaking in konkani usually tend to speak in english . i dont think in a place like mlore where majority of them know to speak in konkani need masses in english .speak konkani and enrich the culture

  • wenceslaus, mangalore

    Fri, Mar 05 2010

    Mr Gowda, would you say the same thing to kanadigas in Goa that Konkani should be given priority over Kannada? We Konkanis have never imposed our language on others. Kannada has nothing to do with us Konkanis and it is an alien language like Hindi for us. Had DK district been in other state we would have been speaking that state language. For historical reasons, DK happens to be in Karnataka and kannada is imposed on Tulu/Konkani/Beary/Kodava people and an attempt is made to relegate them to a lower level by Karnataka

  • Nolda, Udupi / Mumbai

    Thu, Mar 04 2010

    Mr. Anil D'Souza, your article is very interesting. I really appreciate your concern towards konkani language. It's true we are ashamed to speak in konkani, to certain extent and hence it is disappearing from the usage. In Mumbai, in our parish konkani speaking people have started konkani learning classes for childern. In these classes they teach students to read and write konkani. So this language may not get wiped off as there are people who take interest in preserving this language.

  • Caroline D'Souza, MUMBAI

    Thu, Mar 04 2010

    Thanks Roshan for correcting my barre to borre..

  • arron menezes, mangalore

    Thu, Mar 04 2010

    no sir.. i think language is more to express urself... you wont speak konkani to all bt to ur close once you prefer konkani... so language is to convey the feeling and expressions... only one language is so boring....problems will be there that dosent mean we should stop speaking.. besides certain things you can say in konkani you cant convey them in any other....the tone...the pitch every language differes and unique...we just have to speak write and publish language will be there ...its true it may die... but until we speak it wont...

  • bryan, GOA / Saudi Arabia

    Thu, Mar 04 2010

    The problem lies within some sections of the community who think that by conversing in english(even if it is 18 carrot) their stature increases.People have some sort of inferiority complex for Konkani.i love my Mai Bhas. without konkani there is no identity for us.Long live KONKANI. Someone has suggested making hindi mandatory.These are the very traitors of our language.

  • georgy, mlore

    Thu, Mar 04 2010

    Because of the languages, religion etc. etc. all the problems are there now a days. My suggestion is that only one national language (hindi) and one Universal language (English) should learn each and everybody. So people can communicate in a better way.

  • Sandeep Shenoy, Kundapura

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    @ Gowda, Puttur/Mysore....

    I think Gowda hasn't read this article completely.

    I completely agree with Anil that the younger generation belonging to konkani speaking community (irrespective of religion)tend to choose english over konkani! Its KONGLISH

    Gowda could have commented on this article only after having read this article completely.

  • Sandra, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    I agree to the fact that not many of our present generation know Konkani very well.The reason maybe being that many live in nuclear families born and living abroad.Also when you live in a place filled with people from multi cultural backgrounds,you pick one common language and speak it.Be it hostels or workplace.I resided in India for 8 years and hardly spoke in konkani with my siblings.But I love konkani and I would love to speak it but no one to speak to.:>

  • Vincent, Karkala

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    Hi Anil
    Excellent thought and a prophecy. It won't be late before our younger ones will go to the archives to search for the traces of Konkani. Modern doen't mean that we have to forget our roots. Keep writing.

  • roshan, m'bidri/a'dhabi

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    caroline baye barre karn borelay nahi borre karn borelaay.I love my konkani.Laamb jiu amchi konkani bhaas.gd article Anil.

  • Alvares, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    On a lighther note again... Was it Deena, Joyce or Saira?

  • Jeevan, Mumbai

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    Konkani can be learnt if there is a will.I managed to learn to read Konkani during my 4 year stay in Mlore .How many Mangalorean parents be it living in any part of the world put in efforts to make their children learn Konkani.I doubt hardly a few.If such a case persists how does one expect the younger generation to learn this language.The script does not matter,more important is speaking the language and popularising it through books ,dramas,songs.But unfortunately there is no such intention from the Konkani speaking people living outside the original Konkani speaking areas.I would say each and every Konkani speaking family should buy Konkani periodicals be it in any script and try to learn reading them,that will go a long way in preserving this language.

  • Gowda, Puttur/Mysore

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    What you Konkanis must know first is that Kannada is the topmost language in Karnataka.Konkani is a second or tertiary priority. So learn Kannada. Konkani is not a big deal.Practice Kannada at workplace and at home. Teach your children Kannada instead of Konkani.Bring in Kannada culture.

    "Jai Kannadambe. Kannada nudi eshtu sundara"

  • Eddy, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 03 2010

    I like the article you raise a very valid point about our beloved mother tongue. Some practical suggestion on how we can instill a love for konkani in our youth would be nice!!!

  • Melwyn, Pernal

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Nice article Anil. This issue is not a new one we used to discuss from several years but the situation going worst day by day. As you mentioned, even I agree that speaking konkany at home helps kids to learn konkany fast. This is the point where we have to stress more. Knowing konkany should be made proud by organizing competitions, conducting programs in konkany is must. In the present situation, konkany literature books, music albums, drama's are produced without any profit though there are other reasons too. But preserving our mother tongue (not grand parents)is our utmost duty.

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    It is an interesting fact to know about Mangaloreans and their Konkani.What is surprising is when the mangaloreans are abroad they want to speak,promote and almost impose Konkani but look at those who are in and around Mangalore they by all means see that English is spoken and taught.So love for the language for who's sake?

  • Daniel D'Souza, Udupi / Sharjah

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    I use only Konakni at home and want my child to speak to all my famiily members only in Konkani, because I want my child to be well mannered, cultured. She can only be so by being one among my people. She can only do so by speaking my family language. English - yes, but as business language only! Thanks Anil, for this article. Mhoji Bhas Kokani, mhozo shwaas Konkani!

  • adshenoy, mangaluru

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    For any language to survive it has be taught and practiced. Konkani, because of ego of mangalorean catholics is losing its roots although in recent times there is concerted efforts to re-introduce konkani in magalorean life.
    There is a saying "if you dont use it, you will lose it". So goes to Konkani as well.
    Remember what the brits did, They never gave up their english language wherever they went. India is an example. So folks teach your young Konkani, this is the only way to sustain this beautiful language.
    Amchi baas amka bori, dusraynchi baas dusryank bori. shikaya thumcha burgayank konkni baas.

  • Nisha DSouza, Bangalore

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Well said, Anil.If all the young parents start speaking in Konkani at home, surely the kids will pick up fast. One of my cousin has married a U.S citizen of Greek origin and when their son started talking, he advised my cousin to teach him Konkani as it is her mother tongue. Let us follow our brethern from Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Andhra, who speak only in their language whenever they meet. Let us remember that by speaking English, we donot become British or speaking French will not make us French Nationals.Let us not forget our roots.


    Wed, Mar 03 2010


  • naveen mascarenhas, derabail

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    great article but instead of granparents these chidren should know whether their parents know to speak english .

  • Jasmine Tauro, Bejai/Dubai

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Ya Konkananthlya Kongnya Tu Zago Za
    Hi Amchi Kongni Tun Visarnaka
    Ya Mai Basheso Ek Boro Digo Za
    Tu Kongno Aasta Phirngi Zaynaka

  • Abraham Coutinho, Mundkur/Bombay

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Bombay Konkani need not be bad. My both daughters speak good Konkani. I corrected them when they were young. They had interest and they learnt even Tulu Language from a neighbourhood girl. I encourged them. Now they speak Tulu also though they both were born and bread in Bombay. For all purpose we speak Konakani at home. That does not mean they do not know English. Elder daughter is M.Com, C.A (Inter) and the younger is B.Com., C.A. I am B.A., LL.B., but we all communicate in Konakani only not in English unless the topic/situation warrants.

  • Francis, Mangalore/Dubai

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    I am a Konkani speaking person but not a Konkani fanatic. Language is a tool to communicate. Any tool is used for the benefit of the user. Because our ancestors used Konkani it doesn't mean that we should continue using it if we are not benifitted from it. Why people do learn English? Because there are better opportunities to get a job. It is wise to save yourselves rather than to save the tool you are using. During transition one generation will find it difficult to communicate as it is happening now. But after sometime everything will be ok. It is the family values we teach our children which will establish the strong bond between the generations and not the language.When Goan speaks Mangalorean finds it hard to understand and vice versa. Now which is Konkani is the REAL one? In my opinion whole world should have one language.Practically it may not be possible but logically yes.

  • russell, bejai,Muscat

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Well for all who speak konkani -
    pure konakani is very difficult. However the konkani langauge we speak from our childhood in mangalore is the most general one.
    For lighter moments this is english spoken by a mother to her child. Pole putha how many muttons are going in the lorry. This is when live stock was being transported from muscat port on a trailor.

  • Caroline D'Souza, MUMBAI

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Barre karn borelay

  • Remy DSouza, Doha

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    It has become fashionable to make loose and degrading comments about our own language because now we are all 'English people'. No doubt a large percentage of gulf catholics use English with their children, but how many of them use proper English ? Irrespective of which Gulf country I visit, I hear only essential and many times butler English between parents and children. Is it enough if parents are capable of saying " come, go, sit,eat, make kakka, make susu ?". Is this the way Mangalorean parents going to communicate with their children the rest of their lives ?

    Ask any counsellor or Psychiatrist in Mangalore, child dis-obedience is a major problem because of the langauge gap between parents and children. As children reach adolescence they think parents are fools because they cannot even express themselves properly. And why are we alone stuck with the idea of English being a booster in job prospects ? We are deemed a sophisticated and Engligh speaking community, but when we go aborad, we work as Engineers, accountants and utive secretaries under Malayali, Andhra and Bori bosses who would have learned the English alphabet at the age of 10.

    Clearly professional and academic excellence is criteria for the way forward. Language we speak at home is secondary. Parents who speak foreign languages at home only risk loosing the precious bonding with their children.

  • Rakesh dsouza, karkala/dubai

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    THANKS ANIL you have done excelent job each and every konkani speaking people should realize the importence of their mother language SPECIALY MANGLOREANs some of them feel shame to speak konkani because they are thinking if they speak english people respect them but people from KERALA and TAMIL NADU dont have same atitude like mangloreans PEOPLE FROM KERALA AND TAMIL NADU ALWAYS GIVES PRIORITY TO THEIR LANGUAGE first of all we all mangloreans should speak konkani and also have to teach konkani to our children` for official purpuse we can use english but not inside the family\home because of speaking english we will not going to be consider US or UK citizen we are indians KONKANI BAAS AMCHI BAAS THIKA MAAN DIYA JAI HO KONKANI

  • Manohar Veigas, UDUPI

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    Mr. Anil D'Souza, Appreciate your concern on our mother tongue Konkani. I would like to point out that most of our current generation children our being educated outside their ancestral home-town, say in Bombay, Gulf or European countries with their parents who have migrated. Here, they have to depend lot on their parents for their mother tongue. The second thing, is the current generation studying in ancestral home-town in North/South Canara in Karnataka have in some schools optional Konkani Subject. If Konkani language has to develop as a whole in India, having one script is important that is Devanagari. Today, Konkani is the Official Language of the State but with Devanagari script.

    This common script should have been adopted by Konkani Academy in Karnataka and Kerala, overlooking the State script, to bring about a uniformity and development. Today, unfortunately there is no leading daily newspaper in Konkani be it in Goa, Karnataka or Kerala since there is no acceptance for a uniform script. The Konkani Scholars from all the State should come together and see how can be imbibe this language better in our younger generation with some uniformity. Except for the Script, the Konkani Academy of Karnataka has contributed lot to the language.

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Tue, Mar 02 2010

    In the middle east & US , Canada many of the children do speak English and the knowledge of Konkani is only to speak. They can not read and write kannada and hence Konkani may die down soon. If one need to teach konkani to the child, first five to six years is the best time. Once they start going to school they are attracted to other languages.

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Title: Hey Kid, do you Speak Konkani...?

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