Kannada (/ˈkɑːnədəˈkæn-/;[6][7] ಕನ್ನಡ [ˈkʌnːəɖɑː]), also known as Canarese or Kanarese /kænəˈrz/,[8] is a Dravidian languagespoken predominantly by Kannadiga people in India, mainly in the state of Karnataka (ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ), and by linguistic minorities in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Goa. The language has roughly 40 million native speakers[9] who are called Kannadigas (Kannadigaru), and a total of 50.8 million speakers according to a 2001 census.[10] It is one of the scheduled languages of India and the official and administrative language of the state of Karnataka.[11]

This language is written using the Kannada script, which evolved from the 5th-century Kadamba script. It is attested epigraphically for about one and a half millennia, and literary Old Kannada flourished in the 6th-century Ganga dynasty[12] and during the 9th-century Rashtrakuta Dynasty.[13][14] It has an unbroken literary history of over a thousand years.[15]

Based on the recommendations of the Committee of Linguistic Experts, appointed by the ministry of culture, the government of Indiadesignated Kannada a classical language of India.[16][17] In July 2011, a centre for the study of classical Kannada was established as part of the Central Institute of Indian Languages at Mysore to facilitate research related to the language.[18]