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More Kannada speakers than French and German in 20 years

What makes the language so vibrant? "Kannada will survive and flourish for centuries to come. The reasons are many. It has 2,000 years of history and grand literature. It's beautiful script and musical quality enamours people. It is a major language with a strong base,'' says litterateur and lexicographer Prof G Venkatasubbaiah.

BANGALORE: Who says Kannada is dying? Experts vouch that in the next 20 years, Kannada speakers will outnumber many foreign languages speakers, including German and French.

"A language dies only if its speakers die, says eminent linguist and critic Dr K V Narayana. "Kannada will never face the problem of extinction. However, monolingual concept is a luxury now. We are living in the era of bilingual or multi-lingual environment,'' he says. However, he does not attach much importance to the numerical strength, but stresses on the status of the language. "The speakers of Gondi are spread across five states and they are numerically more than Konkani speakers. But, Konkani is listed in the eighth schedule, while Gondi is not,'' he said.

The beauty of Kannada lies in the fact that it is an absorbing language and not an opposing one, says Kikkeri Narayan, former professor at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore. "Its absorbing nature is reflected in its culture. It has invited religions and its writers were multi-lingual. For example, the ninth century poet Pampa knew Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu,'' says Narayan.

Literary critic and linguist Ganesh N Devy endorses this. "The language's ability to absorb words from diverse linguistic communities is a unique character. Kannada has words from Dravidian languages in South India and Indo-Aryan languages and also from English. In this manner, Kannada is dissimilar to Tamil and Hindi and thus unique. Bangalore is a typical multilingual city, and it has become an IT hub because of its multi-linguistic nature,'' he says

Prof G. Venkatasubbaiah
Bangalore: The Government should establish a separate organisation to compile and update dictionaries, says the 94-year-old acclaimed Kannada lexicographer, G. Venkatasubbaiah.

Prof. Venkatasubbaiah believes it is time that universities introduce lexicography as a subject at the graduate and postgraduate levels.

"It is strange that the Government has closed down the section established for compiling dictionaries, as this is a continuous process. Besides, lexicography is yet to be considered an essential discipline by any university in the country, and the work of a lexicographer does not come under the category of creative work. It is sad that lexicographers, who dedicate their lives to the longevity of civilisation, remain unhappy mortals in their own voyage," says Prof. GV, as he is known in literary and cultural circles.

Other works  

Prof. Venkatasubbaiah was the chief editor of the eight volumes of the Kannada-Kannada Nighantu brought out by the Kannada Sahitya Parishat. He has compiled 11 dictionaries and authored over 60 books on various topics, including the art of compiling dictionaries.

He recently brought out two dictionaries — Kannada-English dictionary and Klishtapada Kosha (a dictionary of complex Kannada words) — to mark the Suvarna Karnataka year.

The Kannada-English volume is in demand for its clarity, lucidity, range of Kannada terms for English words with multiple meanings and insightful translation of Latin, French and Greek phrases. It has assimilated new words into the Kannada language and suggested methods of bringing foreign words into Kannada usage.

Unique effort :  

Klishtapada Kosha is said to be the first of its kind in Kannada and covers a range of linguistic aspects such as derivation, punctuation, phoneme and morphological patterns of archaic, old, medieval and modern Kannada. Prof. Venkatasubbaiah has compiled his dictionaries with the assistance of a young scholar, Rajyasri Satish.

Summing up his experience as a lexicographer, Prof. Venkatasubbaiah quotes Samuel Johnson: "Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries, whom mankind has considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths of learning ... "

Prof. Venkatasubbaiah did a postgraduate course in Kannada literature in 1937 and took to teaching. He has been associated with various cultural and literary organisations, including the Institute of Asian Studies (Chennai), the Union Government's Committee on Indian languages, the Kannada Sahitya Parishat and the Indian Lexicographers Association-----K.N. Venkatasubba RaoExpert for permanent lexicography section, Varsities urged to introduce lexicography as a subject at the graduate and postgraduate levels
BANGALORE, FEB. 24-2013 . With the release of Shabda Saagara, a book in honour of the 91-year-old lexicographer, G. Venkatasubbaiah, on Wednesday, the Kannada literary scene is likely to have not only an interesting form of reading material but also a new publishing idea.

The book is a compilation of articles by scholars, writers, and poets. Gowri Sundar, publisher, wh o was also a film-maker, says he is keen on bringing out books that are culturally and historically significant. He wants his books to evaluate writers and their works critically and not to be merely biographical and laudatory volumes. Shabda Saagara deals with the evolution of Kannada and the role of Prof. Venkatasubbaiah, popularly known as Prof. G.V., in the development of Kannada dictionaries over the years, he says. Mr. Sundar has published critical notes on S.L. Bhyrappa's novels, the Ramayana as G.V. Iyer sees it,Nyayamoorty Nittoor, and Sulabaha Chiktse by Pandit Taranath.
Despite escalating production costs, discouraging marketing trends, and the alleged irregularities in the Government's book purchase schemes, Mr. Sundar is optimistic of making 100 per cent profit. He argues that it is wrong to say Kannada books lack a lucrative market. Some unscrupulous writers and publishers have created such a false impression in connivance with some people in the Government.
Shabda Saagara contains insightful articles on the life and achievements of Prof. G.V. who has earned the distinction of being one among the senior-most lexicographers in the 20th Century in the world. He was felicitated at the first international lexicographers meet held in Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu recently. Prof. G.V. has compiled over 10 dictionaries, including the eight-volume Kannada-Kannada Nighantu. His column, Igo Kannada, in Prajavani, a Kannada daily, has been popular for over a decade. He has edited over 25 books and published several papers. He was an advisor to the multilingual dictionary project (Japanese-Kannada-English-Tamil, 1988) of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai. He had been a member of the consultative committee of the Telugu lexicon project of the Telugu Academy of the Andhra Pradesh Government from 1970 to 1985. He had been the vice-president of the Lexicographical Association of India for 17 years from 1973. He has won several awards.
About:  Prof G Venkatasubbaiah

A Kannada lexicographer who has compiled over 10 dictionaries, edited over 25 books and published several papers. He is regarded as the father of the modern Kannada dictionary
Early life and education:

Venkatasubbaiah was born on August 23, 1913. He was born and brought up in Mysore. He is the son of renowned Kannada and Sanskrit scholar Ganjam Thimmanniah. He secured his Masters of Arts degree from the Maharaja college in Mysore in the year 1932, ranking first in the university. He took up the teaching profession and taught Kannada language at the Maharaja's College inMysore and the Vijaya college in Bangalore.He served as Head of department of Kannada in Vijaya College and Prof.V.T.Srinivasan was the Principal of that college from 1951 to 1972.

Literary contributions:
Venkatasubbaiah has compiled more than 10 dictionaries, including an eight-volume Kannada-Kannada Nighantu (Dictionary). This dictionary has also been translated to the Braille language by the Braille Transcription Centre of the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society. He has been writing the popular column, Igo Kannada for over a decade in the major Kannada daily, Prajavani. The articles published in Igo Kannada have been compiled into a book in two volumes. He has also authored a dictionary entitled Klishtapada Kosha (a dictionary of complex Kannada words) which was released to mark the Suvarna Karnataka (Silver Jubilee of the formation of Karnataka). It is the first of its kind in Kannada language which covers different language specifications such as derivation, punctuation, phoneme and morphological patterns of Kannada language as the language has evolved over the centuries.

He has served as the vice president of the Lexicographical Association of India for 17 years. In 1998, he was appointed as an advisor to the multilingual dictionary project of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai, which comprises Japanese, Kannada, English and Tamil. He was also appointed as a consultative committee member in the Telugu lexicon project initiated by the Telugu Academy of the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah (Kannada: ಪ್ರೊ ಜಿ.ವೆಂಕಟಸುಬ್ಬಯ್ಯ) (born August 23, 1913) is a Kannada lexicographer who has compiled over 10 dictionaries, edited over 25 books and published several papers. He is regarded as the father of the modern Kannada dictionary

Basic Info :    Prof G Venkatasubbaiah.
August 23, 1913
Venkatasubbaiah has been conferred numerous awards, important among which are the Kannada Sahitya Academy award, the Karnataka Rajyotsava award and the Nadoja award, which is honorary degree equivalent to the D.Litt degree. He has also been awarded the Masti Award by the Government of Karnataka. He was President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat from 1964-69. He has also chaired the annual Kannada literary festival, Alvas Nudisiri in 2007.He was also congratulated at the first international lexicographers meeting held in Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu.

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