Monday 24 July 2017

Why say “Kannada Gottilla” when you can now easily learn the language on WhatsApp?

The initiative Kannada Gottilla, started by a Bengaluru-based techie, helps people learn the basics of Kannada over WhatsApp.

“Kannada Gottilla” is the one (and only) Kannada catchphrase known to every non-Kannada speaker in the vast city of Bengaluru. Meaning “don’t know Kannada,” it is the most common response to native speakers who instinctively start a conversation in their mother tongue. While many wish to learn the language, it is the lack of convenient options and time that holds them back.

Borrowing its name from the famous phrase, Kannada Gottilla is an initiative that allows people to learn Kannada over WhatsApp.

The initiative that was targeted mainly at the urban migrants who move cities for work, has taught the basics of Kannada to over 4,000 people across the globe in the past two years.

Brainchild of IT professional Anup Maiya, the initiative was born out of Anup’s personal experience.

“I have been working in the IT industry for over 8 years now. I moved to Pune a few years ago and while I was there, I decided to learn Marathi. It mattered to me that I learn as much about the language and culture of the city while I stayed there. However, even after searching a lot, I couldn’t find any course or online tool that’d help me grasp the basics of the language in a convenient way. That’s when the idea of a platform like Kannada Gottilla came to me,” says Anup.

Immediately after returning to Bengaluru, Anup started thinking about developing a platform that’d help the non-Kannadigas learn Kannada. Since his target group was working professionals, lengthier and time-consuming modules were out of question. The idea needed to be quick, simple and convenient.

“We all use WhatsApp. It’s a great way to communicate and keep in touch with the people in our lives. I thought why couldn’t it be a learning tool as well? I started designing a simple curriculum that focused on sentence building and was aided by vocabulary training. I soon had 10 students, who were willing to learn,” says Anup.

In the past two years, the number of teachers at Kannada Gottilla has gone up to 12 and that of students to over 4,000. Simplicity and convenience are the two USPs of the programme.

The method is simple. A batch of 25 is taught by 3 teachers. A WhatsApp group is created, wherein the teachers share 3 new sentences every day, explaining the why’s and how’s of the grammar. They also share voice recordings for the students to pick up the pronunciation. Different video clips of songs with subtitles and dialogues from films are also shared to help students get the flair of the language.

For the first year, Kannada Gottilla’s WhatsApp coaching was free. Now, the platform charges a nominal fee of Rs 200 per month.

For those not comfortable with learning the language on WhatsApp, Kannada Gottilla also conducts one-day workshops every month. The workshop that is conducted at Rangoli Art Centre on M G Road is free of cost.

About two months ago, Kannada Gottilla started the campaign #ABCT, short for Anybody Can Teach, with the objective of creating an online video repository of small tutorials, which will be available to all on the website.

“As a part of the campaign, we asked Kannadigas to upload short videos using Kannada words and sentences. As many as 100 videos have been uploaded on our Facebook page so far. We are also in the process of uploading these videos on our website,” says Anup.

He dreams of expanding the initiative to several metro cities of India, where something like Kannada Gottilla will certainly be welcomed, he feels.

“Why shouldn’t there be a platform like Bangla Jaani Na or Marathi Yet Nahi in Kolkata or Pune respectively?” he asks!

(Source: The Better India)

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