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Kannada(kä`nədə), Dravidian language of India. See Dravidian languagesDravidian languages
, family of about 23 languages that appears to be unrelated to any other known language family. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, living chiefly in S and central India and N Sri Lanka.
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(self-designation, Kannadiga), a people in southern India; the major part of the population of the state of Mysore.
There are 22 million Kanarese (1970 estimate). They speak Kannada, a Dravidian language. Most of the Kanarese are Hindus, although there are also some Jains, Christians, and Muslims (the last only in the cities). The chief occupations of the Kanarese are farming (rice, millet, cotton, sugarcane), livestock raising (oxen, buffaloes, small cattle), handicrafts (pottery, wood carving), industrial labor, and work on coffee and other plantations.