Pronunciation Guide for Kannada Alphabet

Pronunciation Guide of Kannada Alphabet

Kannada is one of the official languages of India and is quite popular language in the whole world. It is spoken mainly in Karnataka state of India and in some parts of the neighboring states of Dravidian region in South India. Kannada and Telugu have many things in common and their alphabets sometimes look quite similar.

Microsoft Windows allow the usage of this language and support the font for Kannada. Below is the list of alphabets used in Kannada with the guide to pronounce it as the sounds are present in the English language.

Vowels of Kannada Alphabet

ಅ As ‘a’ in mal
ಆ Stressed ಅ
ಇ As ‘I’ in ill
ಈ As ‘e’ in eke
ಉ As ‘u’ in Ubuntu
ಊ As ‘ou’ in you
ಋ As ‘ri’ in risk
ೠ Double sound of “ri”
ಎ As ‘e’ in par se
ಏ As ‘a’ in as
ಐ The sound of “ai”, very particular to all South Indian languages.
ಒ As ‘o’ in go
ಓ Stressed and long sound of ‘o’
ಔ The sound of “au”, again very particular to all South Indian languages.

Consonants of Kannada Alphabet

ಕ As ‘k’ in kite
ಖ Coupled sound of ‘k’, ‘h’= ‘kh’
ಗ As ‘g’ in gun
ಘ Coupled sound of ‘g’, ‘h’= ‘gh’
ಙ As ‘gn’ in gnome. Does not produce a particular sound: Just used for articulation of tongue while pronouncing the next word
ಚ As ‘ch’ in chair
ಛ This sound is not available in English. The tongue touches a bit away (to the inner side) from the teeth while pronouncing ‘ch’ as in chair.
ಜ As ‘j’ in jug
ಝ This sound is not available in English. This is produced using the naval sounds while the tongue touches the upper part of mouth cavity.
ಞ Just like ‘gn’ of gnome with a slight up movement of tongue. No particular sound just articulation while speaking.
ಟ As ‘t’ in top
ಠ Hard sound of ‘t’. Not available in English.
ಡ As ‘d’ in dark
ಢ Coupled sound of ‘d’ and ‘h’= ‘dh’. Not available in English but as ‘dh’ in Indian musical instrument ‘dhol’.
ಣ Nasal sound when the tongue touches a bit away from teeth. In ನ, the tongue touches the roots of the teeth.
ತ Soft sound of ‘t’ as used in the name of country Bharat
ಥ As ‘th’ in thermo
ದ As ‘th’ in the
ಧ Not available in English. Again, naval sound produced by coupling soft ‘d’ and ‘h’= ‘dh’.
ನ As ‘n’ in man
ಪ As ‘p’ in push
ಫ Sound of ‘f’ if pronounced with closed lips. ‘f’ of German language.
ಬ As ‘b’ in ban
ಭ Not available in English. Coupled sound of ‘b’ and ‘h’= ‘bh’.
ಮ As ‘m’ in mass
ಯ As ‘y’ in yacht
ರ As ‘r’ in run
ಲ As ‘l’ in love
ಳ Special “l” sound of Indian languages where the tongue touches deeper part of upper part of mouth cavity towards the throat.
ವ As ‘v’ in vowel
ಶ As ‘sh’ in shot
ಷ Sound of ‘sh’ when the tongue touches the roots of the teeth. In ಶ, the tongue touches the upper part of mouth cavity.
ಸ As ‘s’ in sound
ಹ As ‘h’ in has
ಜ್ಞ Coupled sound of ‘j’ and ‘n’= ‘jn’
ತ್ರ Coupled sound of soft ‘t’ and ‘r’—‘tr’.
ಕ್ಷ Coupled sound of ‘k’, ‘s’, ‘h’= ‘ksh’. A bit similar to ‘x’
ಶ್ರ coupled sound of ‘s’, ‘h’, ‘r’=’shr’. As ‘shr’ in shroud

Symbols used in Kannada

ಂ Sound of ‘m’ and ‘n’ with the previous consonant
ಃ Sound of ‘h’ with the previous consonant
ಾ Sound of stressed ‘a’ with the previous consonant
ಿ Sound of ‘i’ as in ill with the previous consonant
ೀ Sound of ‘e’ as in eke with the previous consonant
ು Sound of ‘u’ as in Ubuntu with the previous consonant
ೂ Sound of ‘ou’ as in you with the previous consonant
ೃ Sound of ‘rhy’ as in rhythm with the previous consonant
ೄ Double sound of ‘rhy’ as in rhythm with the previous consonant
ೆ Used for transliteration. Giving the up sound to the symbol used.
ೇ Sound of ‘a’ as in as with the previous consonant
ೈ Sound of ‘ai’ as in aim with the previous consonant
ೊ Sound of ‘o’ as in go with the previous consonant
ೋ Stressed sound of ‘o’
ೌ The sound of “ou” associated with the letter with which it is put
್ Halant or Virama. This is used to make the consonant half making it disjointed from the sound of ಅ.
| Symbol of ‘.’ Full stop in English.

Numeric symbols of Kannada (0-9)










Apart from these symbols, there are two types of half-sound of ‘r’ that is used in Hindi. One after the bearing consonant and one before the bearing consonant. The symbol is not present as such in the Tunga Font but can be made by pressing the Shift+3 keys. This symbol will put the half-sound of ‘r’ in the foot of the consonant and its sound would come after the consonant. Typing ರ and then using the key ‘d’ to make it half and then pressing the next consonant would make the symbol of ‘r’ that is sounded before the bearing consonant. This symbol will be placed above the consonant.

Microsoft uses “Tunga” font for Kannada language.

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