Learning Kannada: It’s not as tough as you think!

There are many online and offline resources that help you learn Kannada language. Bangalore also has many classes where one can meet people and learn the language.

In part I of the series ‘Blending with Bangalore,’ Citizen Matters had explained the trend among non-Kannadigas to learn Kannada. Here is part II of the series, that throws some insights on how to learn Kannada in Bangalore.

Kannada class being conducted by Kannada Learning School Pic courtesy: kannadalearningschool.com

Journey from ‘Kannada Barolla’ to ‘swalpa barutte’, and then to ‘Kannada Barotte’ can be a pleasant and exciting ride if you choose the right path. Kannada is a very simple yet rich language. If you have real interest in the language, it is possible to speak reasonable Kannada within one month, with a very little effort.

The first step is to get familiarised with the structure of the language. To achieve this, hear more and more Kannada on Radio, TV and also try to catch the live conversations.

Step-by-step guide to learn conversation Kannada

  • Learn a few salutations, greetings and expressions : Namaskara, Hegiddeera, Chennagideera etc.

  • It is always better to use the plural     form to address a singular person when we speak politely.

  • Learn words for queries – Who, Why, When, Where, Which, How, etc. (Yaaru, Yaake, Yaavaga, Elli, Enu, Hege etc)

  • List the important verbs required in everyday conversation.

  • Learn the pronouns. (he, she, it / avanu, avaLu, adu)

  • Gender, time, numbers, cardinals, colors, names of vegetables, fruits, pulses, etc

  • Tenses – Use the verbs in present, past and future tenses·

  • Learn Conjunctions which eventually help to make complex sentences.(and, but, or / mattu, aadare, athava etc.)

  • Make simple sentences indicating – Request, Advise, Order, Interrogation, Negation, Assertive, etc

There is nothing better than trying to speak in a language that helps you learn the language better. If you follow the above-mentioned steps, it is fairly possible to speak at least broken Kannada and make meaningful conversations in a month’s time.

There are many avenues to learn Kannada such as Spoken Kannada classes, online classes, websites and books. But face to face learning in a group with the help of a tutor is the best way. A number of organisations are teaching spoken Kannada as well as written Kannada to non-Kannadigas in Bangalore.

Below are few prominent organisations which are involved in Kannada teaching.  

Easy learning: A few tips

1. Watching Kannada movies (preferably with subtitles), can be of great help. This is an important and entertaining way to improve your language skills.

2. Do not hesitate. Speak the language at every possible opportunity.

3. Never mind if you are using less Kannada and more English words. Kanglish is anyway popular in Bangalore. However constantly try to improve your Kannada vocabulary.

4. Watch Kannada news. This is not only helpful in learning the language, but will help you to know your city better.

5. If you are a user of public transport, carefully listen to co-passengers’ conversations.

6. Enjoy the local tang of the language by listening to Kannada FM stations.

7. Do not completely rely on ‘Learn Kannada in 30 days’ type of books. Many Bangaloreans will fail to comprehend your textbook language and you are sure to face some embarrassment, if you go strictly by books.

Bangalore Tamil Sangam

The Tamil Sangam in Bangalore started much before the formation of Karnataka state, is a pioneer in teaching Kannada. It is offering Kannada classes for the past four decades and has so far conducted Kannada classes for more than 60,000 candidates.

Kannada Prasara Parishath

Since 1990, Kannada Prasara Parishath is conducting Kannada classes near Hosmat Hospital. They also conduct higher Kannada classes which includes reading and writing.

Kannada Learning School

Though recently launched, Kannada learning school in Koramangala is gaining quick popularity. They conduct conversational Kannada Classes and are also using social networking sites effectively to teach Kannada.

If you cannot attend classes regularly, you can choose online coaching or correspondence course. Central Institute for Indian Languages conducts a Distance Education Course in Kannada. Also, the internet is full of online resources to learn Kannada. There are many sites and blogs with simple spoken Kannada lessons. Youtube and some websites have good Kannada conversation video lessons.

Apart from these, the conventional method of learning through books can be partially useful. A book written by veteran linguist UP Upadhyaya and N D Krishnamurthy, way back in 1972, titled ‘Conversational Kannada, A microwave approach’ is still considered as the best book to learn Kannada. Now this book can be purchased online along with CD.   

For all those non-kannadigas in Bangalore who are willing to go that extra mile to learn the local lingo, here is a list of helpful websites and phone numbers.


Facebook Page:


Classroom based in Koramangala

contact number – 9900577225


Kannada Speaking Course


A training institute for many languages.



Correspondence Course from Govt of Karnataka



Online Course in Kannada



Online Kannada course by Penn Language Center – University of Pennsylvania



Interaction-based online Kannada learning


Topic wise conversational Kannada lessons


Blog on learning Kannada


A blog with simple spoken kannada lessons


Videos on YouTube to learn kannada


Video lessons

Kannada Prasara Parishath near Hosmat Hospital


Conversational Kannada Class near UB city


Isn’t that a lot of resources, if you really want to learn the language and blend with city? What do you think? Kannada innadru kaleethiraa?

This article includes inputs from Sunita Rajendra.


  1. Natarajan Iyer says:

    This is a suggestion to readers to have practical expectations after
    learning kannada. There is one major behavioural issue plaguing Karnataka. LINGUISTIC INTOLERANCE. I have been born and brought up in Bangalore in a cosmopolitan set-up. I can read, write and speak kannada very fluently. But it has been my personal experience, that one common quality amidst the native residents of karnataka, is their LINGUISTIC INTOLERANCE. Probably their preference to remain within a shell is precisely the reason for very few kannadigas among the HIGH ACHIEVERS, be it in Nobel Prize winners, science, technology, commerce , sports,… etc as compared to the rest of India. They do not even take efforts to develop interest in other languages.The pressure is there upon you to learn kannada, but even after doing so, you discover that they still do not accept you as another fellow human-being. The SHOCKING DISCOVERY i made personally is that many kannadigas, both from the city and rural, do not take pride in conversing in kannada and they prefer ENGLISH. As a result, Beautiful, Sweet and Grammatical Kannada and it’s Proverbs ( Gaadhegalu ) seems to have been long forgotten by kannadigas in Bangalore, many of whom speak a crude form of kannada that destroys the beauty of the ancient language. Also, If they develop TOLERANCE and understand that in today’s GLOBAL scenario where we are moving towards a MULTI-LINGUISTIC scenario, if the kannadigas do not do not develop LINGUISTIC TOLERANCE and also Interest in learning other languages, soon they might yet again find themselves left out of the competitive crowd. As the high court of karnataka recently pointed out in a matter related to language in the administrative set-up, we are ONE COUNTRY INDIA and we cannot afford to be DIVIDED upon LINGUISTIC issues.

    Natarajan Iyer

  2. Vasant Shetty says:

    Myth buster 1: If Kannadigas were intolerant, we wouldn’t have had such large scale migration of non Kannadigas happening to our city.
    Myth buster 2: There are hundreds of Kannada achievers in every sphere of life. Who founded Infosys? Who started Deccan Aviation? 80% of hotel business in Bengaluru as well as Mumbai is run by Coastal Kannadigas. India’s finest doctors have come from Karnataka.
    Myth buster 3: Language in urban centers have an influence of English everywhere. Haven’t you heard Hinglish? Tanglish?
    Myth buster 4: High court judgement was not about whether Kannadigas are less tolerant. It was about the role of govt in ensuring employment opportunities to locals.

  3. Natarajan Iyer says:

    Vasanth Shetty, You seem to take a scientific fact-sheet personally.
    Anyway, although nobody bothers to stop by to respond to such evasiveness to the Truth posing off as myth-busters, for your benefit, let me do so here.

    Migration started during the times of the kings when social structures were intact. It continued after independence, during governmental transfers and then after export oriented units began and the economy opened up, people from all over India settled down across the country and not just Bangalore.

    Yes, you are right. We cannot generalize. I too do not do so since I have had pleasant experiences with many localites. But, by and large, the majority of them do not treat you as a fellow human-being. They themselves do not know the language kannada properly. They seem to need a reason to hit at us and this is an easy one.
    Feeling each and every morsel of rice to check whether the rice is boiled or not, is not required. Just feeling one morsel is enough. Among the 62 million that you quote, i have met many in a simple and easy method of categorized segments such as teachers, doctors, illiterate,… etc and having been the victim myself of dirty racism here right from my school days, and the severe and un-reported human rights violations and crimes during cauvery riots, it has been the experience of many like me that hidden behind the soft-spoken label of many here, is a severely dented, envious, jealous, incompetent personality. If you are unfortunate enough to get caught, you are made a punch-bag of their frustrations.

    As for finest doctors, can you name one ?
    Forget that, can you name one nobel prize winner, one renowned geologist, one renowned person in every field, who has been certified as the unparalled genius ???

    This hotel story, do not bring that here. We are referring to Genius and not manual labour. We are referring to the Sun and not to a camera flash-light.. By the way, there are many hotels and innovative ones that those udupi hotels are not frequented by many, except for a minor segment of the urban sophisticated and they too do so since there is no other choice.

    Infosys,… etc — TCS, TVS, AMCO batteries, CTS,… etc etc etc the list can go on and on. For how long will you keep referring to one person and that too in two or three fields ?

    Anyway, this data apart, many manuscripts in kannada and even the kannada baraha software have been penned by non-kannadigas.

    These fact-sheets can go on endlessly. But that is not the agenda.
    My agenda is to alert the readers ‘ Learn the beautiful language Kannada, from an academic interest and do not have any expectation of recognition and respectful treatment ‘

  4. Vasant Shetty says:

    1> Migration is happening for 2 centuries now and that shows how tolerant and welcoming are locals to outsiders. Is it that tough to comprehend?

    2> You had some unpleasant and some pleasant experiences so just based on that you are writing a thesis saying Kannadigas are intolerant people. Let me say this. Few Aiyers (from teaching, journalism, philosophy as well as illiterate backgrounds) think Kannada and Tamil were derived from Sanskrit and Sanskrit is the mother of all languages and hence using your logic of “Feeling each and every morsel of rice to check whether the rice is boiled or not, is not required. Just feeling one morsel is enough.”, I am claiming that all Aiyers are basically fanatic Sanskrit bigots and have no clue on a science called linguistics. Will that be a fair assessment?

    3> If you are a victim of a dirty racism, it’s a matter of concern and I empathise with you but your comments very evidently reflect a severely dented, envious, jealous, incompetent personality and one that spits venom against Kannadigas just because you had some problem with some of them in your life.

    4> Ok let me name two doctors for you. 1. Dr.Devi prasad Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya. 2> Dr. C N Manjunath of Jayadeva. OK. You need one more? Dr. Sharan Patil of Sparsha hospital. They are India’s finest doctors who have built institutions of excellence in health care.

    5> Hotel business is manual labour? “Racism in the air !!”

    6> Kannadigas have not won any nobel prize. How about Aiyers? Half a dozen right?

    7> You say ” udupi hotels are not frequented by many”.. Oh really? Ignorance is blish sometimes.

    8> Baraha software is developed by Sheshadri Vasu, the son of Kalyan Raman, who faught for Karnataka’s unification along with Aa.Na.KrishnaRayaru. Reading some right history will help you mate.

    I sincerely request you to stop doing propaganda about an entire language community just because you had some bad experience with some people. Such people are everywhere. I had faced similar treatment in Chennai from Tamil fanatics but just because of that, I won’t term every Tamilian as intolerant.

    It helps to grow up sometime.

  5. Natarajan Iyer says:

    Just a final note to correct your serious mis-understanding.

    Tamil is derived from another ancient language that we call Grantham which is the actual language spoken by the Gods. There are few scholars in Grantham even today and i have one or two in my own family.

    From Grantham, Braahmi and Sanskrit took birth. From Sanskrit, were born the other languages.

    Your google search would NOT throw up many intricate details.
    Grantham, Tamil and Sanskrit were placed at various interludes and positions in the Vedic system as per the law of perfect balance of the law of nature. Similar to placing the seat above and the engine else-where. Similar to having either aerial roots or beneath the soil, as the case may be, as a scheme within the larger frame of nature.

    Everything has a place in nature and to get into Meta-physics as an aid to explaining this is beyond the scope of this discussion.
    Appropriate fora existed in the past and are now absent in the visible societal platform today and hence the limited numbers of greats who can go beyond even the intellectual thinking, such greats are alive but choose to remain low-profile and we would not, as a matter of choice, violate their preference and bring them to the public fora. Their knowledge is transferred to the select few and that is it. The law of nature has a flow and we just move with the flow. Period.
    Thanks… Shubhamastu.

  6. Jayanth Sidmallappa says:

    Mr Iyer…I don’t understand why you generalizing every Kannadiga with your unpleasant exp you alone had..a lot of my non-Kannadiga friends have learnt to at least read and speak Kannada and they never had any such incidents to tell. Learning one more language (especially language of the land where we stay) is always good and expands the horizons for the individual to learn new culture and other human aspects. And everybody how tolerant Kannadigas are. So Please think over before you comment big anywhere.


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