V. Krishna and the making of an English-Kannada dictionary


india language linguistics

V. Krishna and Narasimhamurthy, KaGaPa’s proprietor, spoke passionately about Kannada literature and digitisation projects in the quaint little office room, surrounded by stacks of old Kannada books and literature. It was the perfect setting. Then, the extremely soft-spoken and mild-mannered V. Krishna fired up a computer and showed us his lifelong side project, his Kannada-English dictionary. Researched and written over a period of more than 40 years, 150,000+ Kannada words and 240,000+ English definitions, all neatly typed up in a Word document, complete with parts of speech tags and phonetic notations with diacritics for Kannada words. The ambition of the project, its scholarly quality, the depth of the data, the culmination of one man’s passion, perseverance, and tenacity over a lifetime, all lying in obscurity, stumbled upon by sheer coincidence. Absolutely mind blowing.

He offered V. Krishna a perpetual, unconditional monthly stipend to support his passion, working on his dictionary. Here is the kicker—he is now working on an English-Kannada dictionary and has recently completed all the “A” words.

Alar: The making of an open source dictionary, Kailash Nadh, CTO of Zerodha