History[ edit ] The Kannada script derives from the Old Kannada script,  which evolved around 10th century as the continuation of the Kadamba alphabet of the fourth century. Halmidi Inscription Replica This is debated as recent excavation has led to Talagunda inscription of AD  to be the oldest available. Over the centuries some changes have been made to the Kannada script. However, distinct signs were employed to denote the special consonants viz. The introduction was done so that Sanskrit and loanwords into the Kannada language from the donor language Sanskrit could be written using the Kannada script.
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General[ edit ] Kannada script has forty-nine characters in its alphasyllabary and is phonemic. The Kannada character set is almost identical to that of other Languages of India Indian languages. The number of written symbols, however, is far more than the 49 characters in the alphasyllabary, because different characters can be combined to form compound characters ottaksharas.
Each written symbol in the Kannada script corresponds with one syllable, as opposed to one phoneme in languages like English language English. The Kannada writing system is an abugida, with consonants appearing with an inherent vowel. The characters are classified into three categories: swaras vowels , vyanjanas consonants and Yogavaahakas part vowel, part consonants.
The name given for a pure, true letter is akshara, akkara or varna. Kannada is written from left to right. Kannada alphabet aksharamale or varnamale now consists of 49 letters. Each sound has its own distinct letter, and therefore every word is pronounced exactly as it is spelt; so the ear is a sufficient guide.
After the exact sounds of the letters have been once gained, every word can be pronounced with perfect accuracy. The accent falls on the first syllable. There are fourteen vowels swaras.
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