38 million native speakers, 11 million second-language speakers (2007)
Kannada is a Dravidian language, spoken mainly in the state of Karnataka in southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and it is the sole official language of Karnataka. Kannada has been attested since the 6th century CE, and it was the official language for a number of powerful southern Indian dynasties, including the Rāṣṭrakūṭa, Chālūkya, and Hoysaḷa dynasties, the Vijayanagara Empire, and the Kingdom of Mysore. Owing to its thousand-year literary history, the Government of India designated Kannada one of the “classical languages of India” in 2011.
Within Karnataka, Kannada is widely used in newspapers, television, music, theater and daily communication. Bengalūru, the capital of Karnataka and the third-largest city in India, is home to the vibrant Kannada film industry. The cities of Mysore and Dharwad are centers of Kannada literary and artistic culture. Modern literature in Kannada is immensely popular in India, both in the original language and in translation. The Kannada script, an abugida (alphasyllabary) related to other Indian scripts, particularly the Telugu script, is used to write Kannada.