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History and Origin of Language Konkani

Konkani language of Konkan ranges
Konkani Language
Konkani is an Indian language spoken in the Konkan region in the west coast of India. This region comprises the Konkan division of Maharashtra, Goa, Canara, i.e. coastal Karnataka, and a few pockets in Kerala. The Konkani language is said to hail from the Indo-European family of languages and is considerably influenced by languages like Portuguese, Kannada, Tulu, Marathi and Persian. There are two significant theories pertaining to the history and origin of Konkani.

As per the first theory about the Konkani language, its originators were the Saraswat Brahmins who resided alongside the banks of the Saraswati River flowing in the northwest part of India. This incident is dated as late as 5000 years ago. But due to the seismic movement of the Earth, the Saraswat Brahmins had to migrate from there and they finally settled down in the Gomantek region of the country. They brought their own dialect of Sauraseni Prakrit, which with time evolved into the modern Konkani language.

Another theory is that Konkani is a Sanskritised version of a language that is now spoken by the Kokna tribe. The Kokna tribe is also famous by the names of Kokni, Kukni and Kukna. Though in the present times, these tribals can be found in the northern part of Maharashtra and south Gujarat, it is believed that they had primarily settled in the Konkan region. It was the migrating Aryans who came to the Konkan region, picked up this language and mixed numerous Sanskrit words into it.

In current times, Konkani is a dominant language of people residing at the picturesque seaport of Goa. Originally, it was the Brahmi script that was used for writing in the language. But later, when it lost its popularity, the Devanagri script started being used instead. This script was significantly used for religious purposes, for maintaining accounts and trade ledgers as well as for other activities of daily life.

The evolution of Konkani, as both language and literature, has seen some major sharp curves. For instance, Konkani was well nurtured under the care of the Hindus rulers evolving its own dramatic form and expression. It developed its own rich folklore, proverbs, lullabies, nursery rhymes and so on. In comparison, the Muslim domination in the Konkani speaking belt had an adverse effect on the growth of the Konkani language.

Some remarkable works in Konkani literature include the Cover of Dovtrina Christam by Fr. Thomas Stephens. This is probably the first published work in Konkani. Then there's also the Konkani Mansagangotri written by Prof Olivinho Gomes, Vajralikhani by Shenoi Goembab, Konkani Bhashecho Itihas by Shenoi Goembab, etc. Another famous piece of Konkani literature is the Sollavea Xekddeantlem Konknni Mhabharot by Adi Porv, which is a collection of 18 stories from the Indian epic, Mahabharata.

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