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The Kannada script or the Kannada Lipi is basically derived from the ancient script of Brahmi.

There was an off-shoot from the original Brahmi script during the early 3rd century BC; this off-shoot gradually was developed as the script for Proto-Kannada. During the 4th century AD this script developed into the Kadamba script which again was derived as the Old Kannada script that existed till the 10th century AD. It is this Old Kannada script that is the mother of the modern day Kannada and Telugu scripts. So, it can be said that both Telugu and Kannada scripts have evolved from the same base of the ancient Brahmi script.


Kannada script is also used to write some of the other South Indian languages such as Kodava, Konkani and Tulu. Apart from the Devanagri script it is the script used to denote the second highest number of other languages. There is a historic evidence of Kannada being used in writing Badaga language of the Nilgiri region and also the Konkani in the Goa region where the script was named as Goykanadi. The present day Telugu script was derived from the Old Kannada script between the 11th and 14th century AD.

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The rock edicts are the earliest reliable source of the Old Kannada script. The earliest rock edicts that have been found in Karnataka belong to the era of Emperor Ashoka (about 3rd century BC), but the language used here is heavily laden with either Sanskrit or Prakrit words. Though Kannada was a well established language among the commoners, the learned class had an affinity to produce literature that was mostly rich in Sanskrit. Kannada script has been widely used in rock edicts starting from about 450 AD.


It is during the Kadambas (325 to 550 AD) that the ancient Brahmi script underwent a major change and the Kannada script was adapted from it. The letters here are shorter and basically round in shape. Gangas (325 to 1000 AD), who ruled southern parts of Karnataka for a much prolonged period, have used Kannada script differently in rock edicts and metal plate inscriptions. During the period of 6th century to the 10th century AD, Kannada script was more or less stabilized under the regimes of Chalukyas of Badami and Rastrakutas. Many new letter forms were included in to Kannada script to emulate and readily use Sanskrit words in Kannada.


Kannada script to this date has undergone a series of transformation under the rule of various dynasties that have used Kannada in their own styles. This difference is due to the variations in usage of Kannada at different geographical regions and also due to the difference in rock forms! We can see that the Hoysalas (1000 to 1346 AD) have used a more artistic form of Kannada in their inscriptions on soap stone which is softer than the granite stone on which the Vijayanagara (1336 to 1565 AD) rulers got inscribed Kannada in a style which is simple and bears no artistic styles. The letters used in the inscriptions by the rulers of Mysore such as Wodeyars (1399 to 1956) resemble the present day Kannada. Contact for translating medical documents into Kannada








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