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Konkani writing

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


Konkani belongs to the western group of Indo-Aryan languages and is spoken by some 2 million people centred in Goa and further to the south along the Karnataka coast. During the period of Portuguese colonial rule its status was elevated to that of a written language and it thus became the only Indian language for which a Roman orthography was devised and used. But although it was reduced to writing as long ago as the sixteenth century, it failed to develop a uniform standard. The reasons for this must be sought in the fact that Konkani is not used as a written language in all areas where it is spoken, and because it is surrounded by more prestigious literary languages, notably Marāthī and Kannada which many Konkani speakers prefer for purposes of written communication. Konkani is also written in the kannada script . Unlike its Portuguese model (and the common Roman transliteration systems for Indian languages), Konkani orthography avoids diacritics. Yet certain features of the spelling system, such as the grapheme <x> for the hushed sibilant /∫/, testify to the Portuguese heritage. Another characteristic is the indication of a final /-m/ by <mm>, a distinction which is necessary because final nasal Vs are expressed by the V letter plus <m>. Reading Pereira 1973. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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