Technology as a solution for popularizing Kannada among Millennials

Team Udayavani, Oct 30, 2022, 11:26 AM IST

Promoting the use of ‘Kannada’ among the new generation has been a question of prestige. Many have lamented that the use of the language is waning, especially among the young Kannadigas who are not so enthusiastic about using their mother tongue. If immediate steps are not taken, the survival of the Kannada language may be jeopardized.

Research into language suggests that a language survives and thrives when it is put to productive use in everyday scenarios. Linguists agree that a Language dies a slow death when its native speakers aspire to learn a “more-prestigious language in order to gain social and economic advantages.” To avoid such disastrous consequences, Kannada must also become a medium that gains economic and social benefits for its users.

With the ‘Kannada Rajyotsava 2022’ approaching, we must ponder on what could be actually done so that the celebration of Kannada does not remain confined to just one day and Kannada gets used meaningfully by the Millenial Kannadigas, who are essential for propagating the language into the future.

The challenge could be addressed with the adoption of technology in Kannada. Here are some of the suggestions that may help Kannada not only to survive but also thrive among the Millenials.

Coding in Kannada:

Kannada has yet to be adapted into a programming language.  D A Patil attempted to develop a coding language in Kannada, in the 1980s. Nothing has materialized ever since. With technology getting more integrated into every aspect of human life, a coding language in Kannada would help its cause.

Technology courses in Kannada: 

National Education Policy (NEP) emphasizes education in the mother tongue. However, popular educational courses such as engineering and medicine are mostly taught in English. If these courses are taught in Kannada medium, the language also benefits as a result.

Free fonts for smartphones: 

Almost everyone carries a smartphone these days. But non-availability of free Kannada fonts has been an issue. Only a few fonts are available for free on the desktop, including Nudi and Unicode. Everything else needs to be purchased. Developing more attractive ‘royalty-free’ fonts is the need of the hour.

Releasing more Kannada eBooks:

Books have been the mainstay of Kannada literature for a long time. However, advancements in technology have raised the popularity of eBooks. in addition to reducing the cost of publication, eBooks can widen the reach of published works. Sadly, there are hardly any Kannada eBooks online. Recently, Kannadigas have started platforms such as  MyLang, and Aalisiri, which have some Kannada works on them. More works need to be published and disseminated in electronic format.

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