Tuesday, 06 Feb, 5.01 am Deccan Herald

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Kannada gottilla? This Whatsapp group can help you

Kannada Gottilla (I do not know Kannada) is an initiative that focuses on teaching Kannada to non-Kannadigas. it's a WhatsApp group where you can learn Kannada and start using it in your daily life.

It was started on Nov. 13, 2014, by Anup Maiya. His friends wanted to learn Kannada and that gave him an idea for WhatsApp. The thought was triggered by a radio prank, which translated a Hindi song to Kannada through the phone.

The Kannada Gottilla team now has 12 members who handle teaching sessions. The group's purpose is to teach Kannada to people who come to Bengaluru and non-Kannadigas residing in Karnataka. This initiative is also seen as a way to preserve the language.

How does it work?

It all works through WhatsApp chatting and there's no fixed time allocated. There are three levels of learning that range from beginners to advanced learners. The first level goes 30 days, the second level is for 45 days and the third level goes up to six months. Nine thousand people have registered so far in the three years of the group's existence.

For now, the initiative is focused on Kannada speaking skills, not reading or writing. However, plans are in the pipeline to expand the offering to include these skills. WhatsApp was chosen as the medium for ease of use and access. Also, building an application can be an expensive proposition.

The WhatsApp instructors are mainly IT professionals who have generously contributed their time to spend one hour a day teaching Kannada. On the weekends, they conduct in-person classes at apartments and corporate spaces.

The students are from various backgrounds, including North Indians, Tamilians and Malayalees. The student population also includes people from 15 countries. Some Kannadiga NRIs who do not know the language are part of the classes.

The students' professional backgrounds include people working in IT and media, some in the acting industry, musicians, retired bank employees, ex-defence personnel and housewives.

The group has also conducted corporate sessions for companies like Avaya, MindTree, Blue Jeans, Art of Living Ashram and Akshaya Patra.

Why learn Kannada?

People's reasons to learn Kannada include leading a life in Bengaluru, conversing with locals, making friends, taking bank exams and teaching children.

Karnataka government's new proposal of teaching Kannada compulsory as a first and second language in schools makes parents thinking of learning basic Kannada to help out their kids in doing homework. This adds as one more reason to learn Kannada.

"They are great. Learners are enjoying it and wanting to learn more and refer friends and family," says Founder Anup Maiya. So far, the group has also conducted 36 free workshops.

The next plan is to include Kannada writing and reading so as to shape a kind of Kannada learning university that teaches skills from the basics to the expert level. The push will also be on growing digital content so that it can be a one-stop space for people to access any language resource they require.

So, want to stop saying Kannada Gottilla.

Register here http://kannadagottilla.com/

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Deccan Herald