Languages people speak in Goa
The culture of Goa, including its language, has been influenced by different cultures during its long history. The history of Goa has been marked by periods of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian rule. That’s why the language of this state of India has also been exposed to all these religions and cultures.
The native language of most Goa people, which is also the official language of Goa, is Konkani. This name the language received from the similarly-named region of Konkan which covers the whole western coast of India. The language currently uses scripts of other languages like Marathi. The Konkani language underwent changes due to Portuguese colonization facing with gradual lack of usage and support. But however it has recently revived due to the efforts of dedicated traditionalists.
Approximately one-third of Goa population recognizes the language of Marathi as their mother-tongue. This language has a special statute in Goa. It sounds very similar with Konkani. Both these languages belong to the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European family of languages and have numerous dialects of common origin (probably from Sanskrit) and script — Devanagari. Many Goa people speak both, Konkani and Marathi well enough.
In fact, citizens of Goa, like the rest of people in India, are mostly bi-or multilingual. All educated people of the country speak fluent English, and many people, especially teenagers and adults, prefer this language even in communion at home. Actually, English is one of two official languages of Goa and is the only common language for all Indians. Even Hindi — the second official language of the state has no statute of obligate language at the state level. Each state has its own official language. Generally, there are 22 languages in India.
The generation of Goans that were born and grown up in the period of Portuguese rule also speak the Portuguese language. At schools it is studied at will as the third language and its use is limited and gradually dies off. However, many Portuguese words have entered the local languages firmly, especially among the Christian population of the state. Besides, as a result of the influence of the Portuguese and English languages the Latin alphabet is often used in written communication even in local languages.
The history of co-existence and development of languages in Goa is largely reflects the history of the struggle for the state independence. Marathi is one of the 20 most spoken languages in the world and its supporters consider the Konkani language to be its dialect, while Goa to be a part of Maharashtra. Therefore the adherents of revival and prosperity of Konkani after the liberation from Portuguese colonizers had to fight for recognition of their native language. They have defended the independence of the State of Goa at referendum in 1967. But the language of Konkani for many years remained repressed by the languages of Marathi, Hindi and English. The supporters of Konkani waged a stubborn struggle, which reached even to the bloody clashes and deaths, to receive the statute of official language of the state for their mother-tongue.
In 1970 s this question was tackled by the specially formed committee of Indian National Academy, which, after some discussions, put an end to disputes declaring the Konkani an independent and literary language of the state. The campaign for independence culminated with its greatest success only in 1992, when a constitutional amendment included the Konkani into the list of official languages of India and recognized it the only one official language of Goa. But the struggle for the complete study of native languages at schools continues till now.
Foreign tourists that are coming to Goa for holidays spending communicate with the local citizens in English language. In all tourist areas people speak English well enough, but keep in mind that the "Indian" variant of English, at least in the beginning, may seem weird to you.