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Konkani – official language of Goa

Which is the official language of Goa?

The official state language of Goa is Konkani, and it is the most widely spoken language too. However, Goa, like elsewhere in India, is multi-cultural and multi-lingual. The residents of Goa speak many languages – Konkani, Marathi, Kannada, Hindi, English, and some people even Portuguese, though they are very few in number. People from many regions have come and settled in Goa, and this is why so many languages are spoken here. Marathi is the second most popular language after Konkani.

Languages Spoken in Goa
Konkani 57%
Marathi 23%
Hindi 5.7%
Kannada 5.5%
Urdu 4.0%
Others 4.8%

* Data according to the 2011 census

The Konkani Language in Goa

The western coast of India is popularly referred to as the Konkan coast. The Konkani culture is distinct, with its own food habits, festivals, and language, though the language comes from the Devanagari script, which is common to many other Indian languages. But there are dissimilarities as well, as the Konkani language has been influenced by Portuguese over the years, when Goa was a colony of Portugal. The Portuguese ruled Goa for 450 years till 1961 when it was finally freed.

Devanagari alphabet for Konkani, Goa

Devanagari alphabet for Konkani

Approximately 7.4 million people speak the language in India, many of whom are in Goa. It is a minority language in other states and union territories – Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. Goa is incidentally the only state where Konkani is a majority. Almost everyone understands Konkani in Goa, even if they cannot write in the language.

There are some similarities between the Hindi and Konkani alphabets, because they are both Indo-Aryan languages, and follow the Devanagari script. Many alphabets thus look similar and serve the same purpose too. But not all of them are the same. There are some unique alphabets in both the languages. There are 44 letters in the Hindi alphabet, while in Konkani there are 52. The number of consonants and vowels differ too. In Hindi, there are 33 consonants and 11 vowels, but in Konkani, there are 36 consonants and 16 vowels. But in spite of these differences, the language follows a Sanskrit structure, which is followed by Hindi too.

Konkani used to follow the Brahmi script once, but it’s not in use now. Modern day Konkani is written in Devanagari, and to some extent in Malayalam, Kannada, Roman, and Persian scripts. The Devanagari script is recognized as the standard Konkani.

Konkani Language Festivals – Konkani Lokotsav is a 3-day annual festival held to celebrate the language and Konkani culture. However, the festival is not held in Goa. It is organized jointly by the Kannada Culture Department and the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy at Mangalore, which is 375.6 kilometers from Panaji. Literary and cultural programs are organized, a choir group, books are sold, there are seminars and lectures, and a food festival is also held. A Konkani poetry festival is also held, this too in the city of Mangalore.

Marathi in Goa

Marathi comes second to Konkani. It is a popular language too, as Goa is a neighboring state of Maharashtra. Marathi too like Konkani is derived from Sanskrit, like many other Indian languages. They both use Devanagari script. Many Goa people speak both, Konkani and Marathi well enough.

The Official Language Act of 1987 made Konkani Goa’s official language. However, Goa’s government states that Marathi can also be used in official communication. In fact, the government will reply in Marathi to any communication received in the language. Most people who speak the language and write in it are from the northern parts of the state, which borders Maharashtra.

Interestingly, there is some conflict between Marathi and Konkani in Goa. Supporters of Marathi consider Konkani to be one of its dialects, and the state of Goa to be a part of Maharashtra. After independence, the supporters of Konkani had to fight for recognition of their native language. They waged a stubborn struggle, which led to even bloody clashes and deaths. Finally, Konkani was recognized as the official language.

Portuguese Language in Goa

During the colonial days, Portuguese used to be the only official language in Goa. It was compulsory to learn the language. The missionaries would use it for every purpose as well. But both Konkani and Marathi survived, as parents would secretly teach their children at home. The usage of Portuguese began to fall drastically as soon as the colonists left Goa. It is not an official language at this time.

Now, you will find very few people speaking and writing in Portuguese, most of them being elderly people who were born before 1961 when Goa was freed. But in recent years, there is a revival, as many organizations and traditionalists are promoting the Portuguese language. In many schools, Portuguese is now studied as a third language.

Hindi and English

Hindi is the national language in India and spoken almost throughout the country. It is widely understood and spoken in Goa as well. Many can write in Hindi too.

English too is widely understood, and spoken, especially in the tourist places and resort areas. All educated people speak fluent English, and many, especially the teenagers, even speak in English at home. English is not as popular in the interior and village areas, though. The most widely spoken languages there are Konkani and Marathi.

Foreign tourists in Goa communicate in English with the locals. Hindi is a popular second language in the tourist places. But Indian English is different in the way Americans and the British speak. In written communication, most locals follow the British English.

Phrases in Konkani

Most people in Goa understand Konkani and can speak in the language. It is good to have at least a working knowledge of the language, as this will help you speak with the locals and understand them better. Speak in Konkani and you will bring a smile on their faces. They will be friendlier, and may offer you better deals.

Here are a few common phrases, words, and numbers in Konkani that is used every day in Goa.

Everyday conversation
Hello/good morning/ Deu boro dis dium
Good evening Deu bori sanz dium
Good night Deu bori raat dium
What is your name? Tuchem naum kitay?
My name is (name) Mojem naum (name)
Where do you come from? Tu koyee-sau yet-ai?
I come from (place) Mau zo gao (place)
How are you (male)? Tum Ko-so-asa?
How are you (female)? Ko-shem-asa?
Thank you Deu borem korum
Please Upkar koroonc
Sorry Maaf kor
What Kitem
Where Khuim
Why Kiteak
Can you help me? Mhojem modot korshi?
Can you tell me? Maka saangshi?
May I have? Maka meutolem?
Do you know where he is? Tu zaanoi toh khoi assa?
When will he be back? Toh kednaam porot yet-olo?
May I take a photograph? Au eek foto kaadum?
Yes/no Hoei/Na
Good Borem
I am tired Aoo tsod tokla
I feel sick Mhojea jivak borem dissonam.
I am happy Aoo tsaud kooshi
I love Goa Maka Goemcho mog asa
I don't understand Hanv soz-mog-nam
Do you speak English Tum Inglez uloitai?
I speak a little Konkani Aoo thodee Konkani ooloyta
What is the time? Kitlim voram zaleant?
I have to go Maka vos-oonk zai
Goodbye Miochay / Adeus
Accommodation and getting around
Can you get me a taxi? Maka ek taxi haadshi?
How much does a taxi charge? Taxi kitley bhaadem ghetaam?
Where is the (Police Station)? (Police Station) khuim assa?
Where can I catch the bus to (Panjim) (Panjim) bus ko-ee tamta?
How far is the bus stop? Bus stop kitley pois assa?
How do I go there? Thuim hao kosso vossoonk?
Does this bus go to (Panjim)? Ee bus (Panjim) voi-ta?
Which bus goes to (Calangute)? Khui-chi bus Calangute vetaa?
How long will it take? Kitlo vogoth laagtolo?
When does the bus leave? Bus kitley-anc so-ta?
Have we arrived in (Candolim)? (Candolim) pau-lay?
How much to (Baga) (Baga) vossoonk kitlay pot-ollay?
How many kilometers is it to (Calangute)? (Calangute) kitlay pois asa?
Turn left/right Dai-an/ Ooj-an wot
Drive more slowly! Sossegarde solay!
Where can I make a phone call? Maka phone koroonc khuim meltolem?
Do you have a room/house to rent? Tu jay shee room/ghor asa?
I want a room for a day Maka eke dissak room zai
I would like a single / double room Maka single / double room zai
What is the charge per day? Eke dissak kitley poi-shay?

Eating and Drinking
I am hungry Maka bhook lagleah
I am thirsty Maka taan lagleah
Where can I get some snacks? Maka khaunk 'snacks' khuim meltolem?
Water Oodok
No ice Borof naka
No sugar Saakor naka
I do not want it spicy Maka tik naka
The food is good Jevon borem
Do you sell cashew nuts? Tumi kaju bhieo viktaat?
How much? Kitlem?
Too expensive! Ekdom mar-rog!
I don't want it Maka naka
I want... Maka zai...
Have you got another one like this? Oslem aneek assa?
I'll take this Haon hem ghetam
Do you take credit card? Tu credit card ghetam?
Can I pay in dollars / pounds? Mhojean pounds voh dollaraani faarik koroonc zata?
Monday Somaar
Tuesday Munglar
Wednesday Boodhwar
Thursday Brestar
Friday Sookrar
Saturday Shenvar
Sunday Aeetar
Father Pai (Christian), Bapui (Hindu)
Mother Mai (Christian), Avoi (Hindu)
Son Poot
Daughter Dhoo
Grandfather Shapai (Christian), Aazoh (Hindu)
Grandmother Shamai (Christian), Aajee (Hindu)
Grandson Naathu
Granddaughter Naath
Father-in-law Saasupai
Mother-in-law Saasumai
Son-in-law Zaavaim
Daughter-in-law Soon
Wife Baile/ Gorkarn
Husband Ghov/ Gorkar
Child (male) Bhurgoh
Child (female) Bhurguem
Children Burgim
Man Dadlo
Woman Baile / Naari / Ostori
Boy Chedoh
Girl Cheduu
Adopted boy Posko
Adopted girl Poskem
Relative (boy) Soiro
Relative (girl) Soiri / soirem
Human being Moonis
Proprietor Paatranv
Land owner Baatkaar

Now At-ants
Later on Maagir
Today Aiz
Yesterday Kaal
Tomorrow Fal-yam
The day before yesterday Poi-r
The day after tomorrow Porvaam
Morning Sokalim
Afternoon Donpara
Evening Sanje
Night Raat
January Janer
February Febrer
March Mars
April Aabril
May Mai
June June
July July
August Aagost
September Setembr
October Otubr
November Novembr
December Dezembr
1 Ek
2 Donn
3 Teen
4 Char
5 Panch
6 Sow
7 Sath
8 Aatt
9 Nau
10 Dha
20 Vees
30 Tees
40 Cha-lish
50 Pon-nas
60 Satt
70 Sottar
80 Voishim
90 Novot
100 Shem-bor
150 Ded-shem
200 Don-sheem
500 Paanshim
1000 Ek-hazar
2000 Donn-hazar

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