Bengaluru: The number of people speaking Kodava and Konkani languages has dipped, shows the 2011 census data. While Konkani is a scheduled language, Kodava is a non-scheduled language.
Data from the 2011 census on mother tongues indicate that the number of people speaking Konkani decreased from 24.9 lakh in 2001 to 22.6 lakh in 2011, registering a 9.3% dip in decadal growth. The number of Konkani speakers had rocketed by 41.4% in 2001 over 1991. In absolute numbers, it went up from 17.6 lakh to 24.9 lakh.
The number of Kodava speakers decreased from 1.7 lakh in 2001 to 1.1 lakh in 2011, registering a 31.4% dip. Compared to just 97,011 speakers in 1991, the figure was up by 71.3% in 2001.
While Konkani is spoken as a major language in several States including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, Kodava language is largely restricted to Kodagu district, besides a few settlers in Mysuru, Bengaluru and other major cities in the country and abroad.
According to Kodava Sahitya Academy President P.K. Ponnappa, the number of Kodava language speakers is dipping because of declining population.
“Several Kodavas, especially those who have moved out of Kodagu, speak English at home. As it is the number of Kodavas is declining. If our own people do not speak Kodava language, Kodava mother tongue will have no future,” Ponnappa regretted.
He added that awareness campaigns must be initiated to tell people about the danger that the language is facing and urge more and more Kodavas to save the language by speaking it in their day to day lives.
Going by census data since 1971, the number of people speaking both these languages has dipped for the first time in 2011. Both communities are planning campaigns to increase their numbers in the 2021 census.