Newsflash: There is no Kannada on DuoLingo. How is it that a language with 40million speakers didn't make it onto the most prominent language learning app in the world? Today we're going to explore some of the reasons why this Indian linguistic giant isn't as well known as it should be.
When it comes to the reasons behind why to learn a language, there are general reasons and more specific reasons concerning that particular language.
It is always valuable to learn a language as widely spoken as Kannada. There are currently 40 million speakers, and it's in the top 30 languages spoken in the world. Also, it's not a language that is going to disappear anytime soon. In recent years Kannada has been made compulsory by the school board of Karnataka, meaning a whole new generation of speakers.
Kannada is the state language of Karnataka, a fantastic ancient place. Maintaining a cultural heritage often goes hand in hand in with preserving the integrity of a language. Kannada was the official language of many Indian empires, including the Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakuta, Hoysala dynasty, and Vijayanagara empire.
Many treasures are still being discovered today, and it is a unique link to the past to read those texts that span millennia.
The leading city of the Karnataka region is Bangalore, and the official language is Kannada. Bangalore has carved out a reputation for itself as the silicon valley of India. Already the population is 9 million, and it is expected to keep skyrocketing in the coming years. Therefore, it would be invaluable for tech or IT investors to learn the local language and interact with potential partners and clients.
I include the last one as a joke. At least partially. Some would argue having the ability to decline an auto driver in Bangalore is a vital skill.
If you want to become truly immersed in a culture, you need to learn the language.
Let me tell you a secret. Translated books are bad. My girlfriend speaks two languages fluently: English and Chinese. Chinese is her native language, and over the years, she has built up a collection of favorite books that she recommends to me with the English translation. I read one of her favorite books not so long ago and thought it was distinctly average. This made her curious, so she read it in English, and she was stunned by just how much was lost in translation. The characters were flatter, the plot slower, the descriptions not as evocative.
If you want to understand Tolstoy's characterization, then you have to learn Russian. If you want to understand the Sci-fi mastery of Liu Cixin, then you must learn Mandarin. If you want to dig deep into BTS's lyrics, then you must learn Korean.
Various studies have shown that speaking a second language reduces the risk of dementia as well as improving your ability to multitask
Some nights I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about GCSE french-- The endless verb conjugations, tables of feminine and masculine nouns, following along mindlessly to the broken old CD player in the corner. But, it doesn't have to be like that anymore. There are apps and communities within apps that allow for language exchanges. You don't have to go to some stuffy classroom and sit with a teacher who's only there because he's being paid. Now you can learn at your own pace from the comfort of your own home.
As Nelson Mandela said: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."
The short answer is no. There's no clear answer why, but we can only speculate.
I find it easy to learn a language where there is some video element. The best channel I have been able to find on Youtube is a series of videos by Masala Chai Media. The advantages of this are the transparency of the process. You can see how old a video is, how many likes it has, and what the users think of it. Don't make the mistake of watching videos just because they made it onto Youtube. Anyone with a camera and a spare 10 minutes can pretend to be a language teacher.
These lessons are suitable but sometimes a little all over the place, which is why I always recommend a structured approach. I never base my language learning on Youtube and only use it as an aid. This is where Ling comes into the equation.
Simply Learn is another product from the makers of the Ling app. A phrasebook and flashcard app are perfect for building your Kannada vocabulary when you have a spare 5 minutes. It is not as intensive as the Ling App and should be an add-on to the larger Ling App product.
Ling has a complete course on the Kannada language, including(vitally) writing practice to learn the script. The app measures and tracks your performance to see yourself in relation to other learners and what you might need to improve.
Additionally, all our content isn't just aimed at English speakers. We have 60 languages you can learn, but also 60 languages you can learn from. (For a real challenge, use the interface of a second language to learn a 3rd language).
We have a free version where you can learn many new words and begin to navigate around the site. But I'd recommend using the pro version for access to the complete course. That's 50 units with four lessons in each unit.
Kannada language learning specialists have developed the lessons to get you up to speed quickly. Ling is the perfect alternative to those apps that have left behind lesser-known languages.