Total population: 1,800,000 (1991 census) Literacy: Moderate
Beginning of Bible translation:
Goa being the original home of this dialect, it is not surprising that the Roman Catholics have been active in producing literature, although the early policy of the Portuguese rulers was to attempt to exterminate the language. In 1731 the Inquisitor of Goa, in a letter to the king, complains of 'the non-observance of the law of His Most Serene Lord Dom Sebastiao and of the Goanese councils which forbids to the natives of the country to speak in their own idiom, compelling them to speak only the Portuguese language'. Before this, however, Thomas Stephens, an English Jesuit who reached Goa in 1579 and died in 1619, had written the first Konkani grammar. Among other works, he wrote a Konkani paraphrase of the New Testament in metrical form which was reprinted several times and is said to be a favourite book among Christians to this day.
In recent times, a New Testament was issued in 1952 in commemoration of the nineteen hundredth anniversary of the death of St Francis Xavier. In 1958 the four Gospels in a new translation by the Rev. Silvester Menezes was published in Mangalore. This has been rendered into the variety of Konkani spoken by the Catholics of that district.
In the year 2004 the Roman Catholic Church wanted replacement of Obhixikt by Krist everywhere in the New Testament text as per the decision of the Archbishop Patriarch, which was taken after consulting several diocesan bodies in the Archdiocese of Goa. Nonetheless, the RC Church went ahead producing their own New Testament in Konknni: Goan language in the year 2006.
Immediately afterwards there came up a request from the Protestant pastors in Goa for the Scripture in Konkani: Goan with a pressing need because the Protestant population in Goa was growing very fast. BSI took the initiative for the New Testament to be made available in Konkani: Goan. Mr. Jose Xavier Fernandes was appointed as a full-time translator and a team of reviewers with his sincere efforts the NT was published in August 2009 with instant distribution of 10,000 copies.
It may be noted that the New Testament was also made available for the Konkani speaking people in the Dakshina Kannada district of the State of Karnataka, in Kannada script. This is slightly a different dialect. The first edition of the NT published in 1978 received favourable comments from Christian and non-Christian public.
Language classification: Konkani is one of main languages spoken in India especially in Goa and Karnataka. Konkani is declared official language of the State of Goa. It falls under the Indo-Aryan family of languages. The nomenclature is spelt: Konknni by the Roman Catholic Church and generally as Konkani. Both Roman and Devanagari scripts are used for writing this language, but as a tradition Roman script is widely used for writing this language.