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Are you a student who enjoys being exposed to new languages and literature—historical languages that date back hundreds or even thousands of years?  Have you considered pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Kannada, one of the official languages of India?  The Master of Arts program in Kannada offers students a rare chance to investigate and appreciate one of India’s oldest languages.  To give you an idea regarding what this degree entails, below we will describe the program in a bit more detail, including the course content and topics associated with the degree and the eligibility requirements for admission into the program.
 
Master of Arts Degree in Kannada:  Program Description and Course Content
 
The Master of Arts Degree in Kannada is a two-year graduate level course of study designed for students looking to acquire and/or expand their knowledge of the Kannada language, including its history and the literature from various periods in history.  The program is offered by a select number of universities worldwide, and by most major universities in India.  Although the exact structure of the degree program may vary depending on the institution, in most cases the language and its history are studied in the first year, while the literature is covered in the second year.  Below is an example of some of the course content and topics student will encounter while participating in the program:
 
Kannada Language and Its History
 
Kannada, pronounced locally as “Kanarese,” is a language spoken in India, primarily in the state of Karnataka.  Native speakers of the language are usually referred to as Kannadigas, and with roughly 70 million of these native speakers, it is one of the 40 most spoken languages in the world.  Kannada is considered one of the scheduled languages of India and is the official and administrative language of Karnataka.
 
When studying the history of Kannada, students will discover that it’s a southern Dravidian language and its history is conventionally divided in four periods:  Purva Halegannada, from the 5th century through the 8th century (according to ancient epigraphic records); the Halegannada or Old Kannada, from the 9th to early 14th century; the Nadugannada or Middle Kannada, from the mid 14th century through the 18th century; and the Hosagannada or Modern Kannada, from the 19th century to the present.  In each of these periods the Kannada language has been heavily influenced by Sanskrit and also to a lesser extent by the Prakit and Pali languages.
 
Kannada Literature
 
Much like the history of Kannada, the literature students will study while earning their M.A. degree is also divided into periods, in this case three, including Old Kannada literature (9th century through 14th century), Middle Kannada literature (14th century through 18th century) and Modern Kannada literature (19th century to the present).  
 
As they go through each period of history, students will find that the oldest existing record of Kannada writings is the Kappe Arabhatta, a form of poetry written in approximately the early 8th century.  Kavirajamarga, written by then King Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I in 850 AD, is the earliest existing literary work in Kannada. The book is a literary criticism meant to standardize various written Kannada dialects used in literature in previous centuries.  In the Middle period of Kannada, Hinduism had a great influence on the literature, which can be seen throughout the literary works created during the period, especially in those by Kumara Vyasa who is arguably the most influential writer of the Middle period.
 
Among the modernists, from the 19th century on, perhaps the most influential was the poet Nandalike Muddhana, whose writings are often described as the “Dawn of Modern Kannada.”  Despite this, most linguists treat the books Indira Bali or Saddharma Vijayavu, both of which were written by Gulvadi Venkata Raya, as the beginning of the modern period.  Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Kannada literature has been highly successful in reaching all classes of society.  In fact, eight Kannada works have received the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary prize, and nearly 60 books have earned the coveted Sahitya Academy award.
 
Master of Arts Degree in Kannada:  Admission Requirements
 
Students who wish to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Kannada must possess at least a Bachelor degree in a field such as World Languages, World Literature or one of the arts.  Indian students studying in their home country must also achieve a passing score on the Kannada Pandit Examination prior to admission, as well as the undergraduate exit examination of the university in which they earned their Bachelor degree.