Transliteration to Kannada Script

Understanding SCHWA:

Basic difference between Kannada/Malayalam/Romi scripts vis-a-vis Devanagari Script is a linguistic phenomenon called SCHWA.

In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa (sometimes spelled shwa) means, an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel which is is “obligatorily deleted” at the end of words and in certain other contexts. Schwa is originated for consonantal release in some languages.

In Konkani Language, Devanagari Script orthography was modelled on the practices of Indo Aryan Language family which was clinically adopted in the public instruction in Goa, where as orthographies in Kannada/Romi/Malayalam scripts were evolved directly based on the pronounciation in the dialects.

Schwa plays a crucial role in Automatic transliteration of Konkani Language between Kannada/Romi/Malayalam and Devanagari Scripts. The Schwa needs to be deleted from the words while Converting a Konkani Text from Devanagari to Kannada/Romi/Malayalam Scripts, it needs to be inserted while Converting from Kannada/Romi/Malayalam scripts to Devanagari Scripts. It presents a challenge to the software because Devanagari Script do not provide enough indicators of where the schwa should be dropped or inserted.

Schwa can be better explained with a following example in Hindi:

Schwa Deletion in Hindi



1. SCHWA shall be deleted  if it occurs at Word-Finally location while converting from Devanagari to Kannada/Romi/Malayalam. SCHWA shall be inserted if there is a Halant at Word Finally location while converting from Kannada/Romi/Malayalam to Devanagari. For example;

प्रमाण = promann, ಪ್ರಮಾಣ್
खबर = khobor, ಖಬರ್
आसात = asat, ಆಸಾತ್
सांगूंक = sangunk, ಸಾಂಗೂಂಕ್
मतिंत = motint, ಮತಿಂತ್

2. However for mono syllabic words it will be retained.

न = no, ನ
व = vo, ವ

3. SCHWA is removed from the second syllable in a Trisyllabic words that ends with a vowel other than अ.

आसता = asta, ಆಸ್ತಾ
पणटी = ponntti, ಪಣ್ಟಿ
माणकू = mannku, ಮಾಣ್ಕೂ
पणजे = ponnje, ಪಣ್ಜೆ
आंवडो = aundo, ಆಂವ್ಡೊ

4. SCHWA is retained in the second syllable in a Trisyllabic words that ends with अ.

मळब = mollob, ಮಳಬ್
वचप = vochop, ವಾಚಪ್
करप = korop, ಕರಪ್
उदक = udok, ಉದಕ್

Exceptions: य-व, (If the second syllable of a Trisyllabic word is either य or व, and the final syllable ends with ‘अ’ the schwa get deleted as shown below.)

घेवन = gheun, ಘೆವ್ನ್
पयर = poir, ಪಯ್ರ್
दिवन = diun, ದೀವ್ನ್
कांयच = kainch, ಕಾಂಯ್ಚ್
पयस = pois, ಪಯ್ಸ್
फावट = favtt, ಫಾವ್ಟ್
वयर = voir, ವಯ್ರ್
पयलें = poilem, ಪಯ್ಲೆಂ
भायर = bhair, ಭಾಯ್ರ್

5. Schwa shall be removed if the next syllable is a conjunct.

आमच्या = amchea, ಆಮ್ಚ್ಯಾ
सगळ्या = sogllea, ಸಗ್ಳ್ಯಾ
खावच्या = khavchea, ಖಾವ್ಚ್ಯಾ

6. Schwa is removed from the Second Syllable for words with Four Syllables

आडकाती = addkati, ಆಡ್ಕಾತಿ
वावराडी = vavraddi, ವಾವ್ರಾಡಿ
लागणूक = lagnnuk, ಲಾಗ್ಣೂಕ್
म्हणपाक = mhonnpak, ಮ್ಹಣ್ಪಾಕ್

7. In words with four syllables, the penultimate Schwa is retained if the final syllable ends with a vowel other than a Schwa.

खतखतूं = khotkhotun, ಖತ್ಕತೂಂ
सरपळी = sorpolli, ಸರ್ಪಳಿ
चलतना = choltona, ಚಲ್ತನಾ
कळटलें = kollttolem ಕಳ್ಟಲೆಂ

Exceptions: य

उलयतां = uloitam, ಉಲಯ್ತಾಂ
बरयलें = boroilem, ಬರಯ್ಲೆಂ
पळयलें = polloilem, ಪಳಯ್ಲೆಂ



Konkani people use two different writing styles in Kannada script for writing in Konkani Language. One is predominently used by Mangalorean Catholic Community in all of their publications, books, periodicals etc. This style has a history of more than 100 years.  In Konkanverter, for the ease of indication, it is named after Louis Mascarenhas, the pioneer publisher in Konkani who started the first ever Konkani Periodical “Konknni Dirvem” from Mangalore in 1912.

Another writing style in Kannada Script used by other Konkani Speaking communities in the coastal districts of Karnataka. In Konkanverter, for the ease of indication, it is named after the pioneer writer in that style Banglekar Narayan Kamath from Mulki, who wrote “Geethamrutha Sakhi” which was first presented in 1908.
Banglekar Barap is the direct transliteration of Devanagari Script writing style, without deletion of “Schwa”.
For Example
Transliteration from Devanagari Script to Kannada Script (Louis Barap)
‘ಮ್ಹಾಕಾ ತೆ ಘಸ್ರಗುಂಡೀಚೆರ್ ವಚ್ಪಾಕ್ ಜಾಯ್’ ಅಶೆಂ ಮ್ಹಣತ್ ಸ್ವರಾನ್ ಮಳ್ಬಾ ಕಡೆನ್ ಬೊಟ್ ದಾಖಯ್ಲೆಂ. ಮಳ್ಬಾಂತ್ ಕಸ್ಲಿ ಘಸ್ರಗುಂಡಿ? ಆರೆ ಬಾಬಾಂನೊ, ಇಂದ್ರಧೊಣೂಚಿ! ಕಿತೆಂ ಮ್ಹೂಣ್ ತುಮಿ? ತುಮ್ಕಾಂ ಬಾಯೆ ಸಗ್ಳೆಂಚ್ ಸಾಂಗೂಂಕ್ ಜಾಯ್.
Transliteration from Devanagari Script to Kannada Script (Banglekar Barap)
‘ಮ್ಹಾಕಾ ತೆ ಘಸ್ರಗುಂಡೀಚೆರ ವಚಪಾಕ ಜಾಯ’ ಅಶೆಂ ಮ್ಹಣತ ಸ್ವರಾನ ಮಳಬಾ ಕಡೆನ ಬೊಟ ದಾಖಯಲೆಂ. ಮಳಬಾಂತ ಕಸಲಿ ಘಸ್ರಗುಂಡಿ? ಆರೆ ಬಾಬಾಂನೊ, ಇಂದ್ರಧೊಣೂಚಿ! ಕಿತೆಂ ಮ್ಹೂಣ ತುಮಿ? ತುಮಕಾಂ ಬಾಯೆ ಸಗಳೆಂಚ ಸಾಂಗೂಂಕ ಜಾಯ.