Is Konkani a dialect? NO!

After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion: if you classify languages ​​on a scale of 1 to 10, while placing advanced languages ​​such as Hindi and Marathi at 10, and dialects at 5, then Konkani will be at 7.5, and not by 5. That is, on the one hand, it is not a dialect, but on the other, it cannot be called a developed language with certainty, since it has not reached the top ten. Why is that? Why couldn’t Konkani become a developed language? The reason is obvious. He was only a language of oral communication, and when it came to writing, the people of Goa, even before the Portuguese colonization, wrote in Marathi. Under the Portuguese, those who converted to the Christian faith used the Portuguese language for written communication, but the Indians – the inhabitants of Goa continued to write in the Marathi language. Thus, the development of the Konkani language took place with some delay, as a result, it turned out to be at the level of 7.5, and not 10. But still not at 5, as a dialect.

The presence of a written language and translate english to tagalog correct grammar is not a criterion for determining whether it is a dialect or an independent language. Even English (honored to be called international) borrowed its alphabet from Latin. Russian and other Slavic languages ​​did not have their own writing until Saint Cyril created the Cyrillic alphabet (which was a mixture of Greek and Latin scripts). And for those who do not know, I will note that Konkani has not one writing system, but six: Latin, Devanagari, Kannadu, Malayalam, as well as Bengali and Arabic alphabets! And that’s because Konkani is spoken along the entire Konkan coast of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, not to mention Goa. It is rather difficult for Konkani to adopt any of these fonts, because in each individual state it absorbs the accent and specificity of the vocabulary of the region, which can only be indicated using the appropriate alphabet. For example, the vowel [e] cannot be denoted in Devanagari, which can be done using the Latin alphabet (e) or the Kannada alphabet (w).

Since Konkani is one of the offshoots of Sanskrit, its vocabulary definitely has similarities with other languages, like in Hindi / Marathi / Gujarati / Punjabi and so on or in Bengali / Oriya / Assamese … And this aspect cannot be considered as reason for designating Konkani as a dialect of Marathi. Even the syntactic systems of most Indian languages ​​are more or less similar. Therefore, it can be argued without doubt that Konkani, although not as developed as Marathi, still cannot be considered a dialect.

On the question of choosing a writing system. Turkey switched from the Arabic script to the Latin alphabet when Kemal Pasha became the first president of the Republic of Turkey, who was convinced that both Turkey and the Turkish language would develop only if they switched to the Latin writing system. History shows us the result. Personally, I feel the same power towards Konkani in Goa. I say this not because I am a Goan or a Catholic, but because circumstances dictate this. Four hundred and fifty years of Portuguese diktat, the use of the Latin alphabet in Konkani, the pronunciation and accent that changed over the centuries – all this has led to the fact that now it is difficult for us to write the Devanagari alphabet in writing. And believe me, if Konkani is destined to develop, this will only happen if you switch to the Latin alphabet. In this connection, mention should be made of the valuable contribution made by the weekly Vauraddeancho lxtt to the development of the Konkani language.

We were taught to write Konkani in Latin by the Portuguese, who followed the spelling (spelling) rules of the Portuguese (Latin) language. For example, using c or qu instead of k, x for sh, gravis, cedil, circumflex and tilde, and rejecting w and y. Some publications, notably the popular Mumbai newspaper Goa Times, have used this style of writing. For example: Conn instead of Konn, quitem for kitem, etc. The weekly Vauraddeancho lxtt has been developing the spelling rules for Konkani over the course of several years or even decades. This consistency gave the Konkani spelling a certain consistency. It is widely accepted, recognized and used, say, in church books, and for this standardization, the weekly Vauraddeancho lxtt has received great appreciation from those who speak Konkani for their valuable contributions to the development of this language, giving the vocabulary a certain form, and streamlining spelling. The value of this work cannot be overstated. Of course, editors will change, but we can say that the language has already “crystallized” and the spelling of the newspaper is authentic, which distinguishes it from others.

But there is also a downside to the coin. Over the years, the vocabulary has undergone fundamental changes. Try comparing the issues of the 1970s newspaper with today’s. As spelling became more standardized, the language was increasingly influenced by Marathi. Authentic Konkani words have been replaced with Marathi derivatives (eg fikir instead of usko, Khali instead of rito), and this worries the true Konkani language. I agree, we need to develop this language, but is it this way? Is it really necessary to borrow and use the words of Marathi? And then, when an outsider reads all this, he, no doubt, will have the impression (in fact, like my friend from Maharashtra) that Konkani is a dialect and that it does not have its own developed vocabulary necessary for expressing thoughts.

In conclusion, I would like to appeal to those who do not know the famous linguist S. R. Dalgado, who was entrusted with the compilation of the first dictionary of the Konkani language and who, after careful research, came to the conclusion: “Concanim nao eo dialecto de Marathi” (“Konkani is not a dialect of Marathi “). He already knew!

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