The Kannada language has been spoken for about 2500 years, with the Kannada writing system being in use for about last 1900 years. The initial development of the Kannada language is similar to that of other Dravidian languages, notably Tamil and Telugu. During later centuries, Kannada, along with Telugu, has been highly influenced by Sanskrit vocabulary and literary styles.
Kannada is a highly inflected language with three genders (masculine, feminine, neutral or common) and two numbers (singular, plural). It is inflected for gender, number and tense, among other things. There is also a sharp distinction between the spoken and written forms of the language. Spoken Kannada tends to vary from region to region. The written form is more or less constant throughout Karnataka, however. The ethnologue identifies about 20 dialects of Kannada. Notable of them are Kodava (spoken in Coorg district), Kunda (spoken exclusively in Kundapura), Havyaka (spoken mainly by Havyaka Brahmanas of Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Sagara, and Udupi), Are Bhashe (spoken mainly in Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada), Soliga Kannada, Badaga Kannada, Gulbarga Kannada, Hubli Kannada, etc.
Kannada is spoken in the state of Karnataka. There are at least four major regional dialects:
1) Mangalore/Udupi Kannada
2) Mysore/Bangalore Kannada
3) Kota/Kundapur Kannada
4) Hubli/Dharwad Kannada
These are the names of the major cities of Karnataka in which the dialects are spoken. Therefore, there are multiple names for each dialect. There are also a number of smaller dialects such as Havyaka Kannada. The upper castes tend to speak the language with a slight difference which makes the odds of one Kannadiga understanding another with slight perfection which is lower than 50-50.
In most of the places in Karnataka, Kannada is used as mother tongue by the people. In border areas like Chamarajanagar, Kuppam, Kasaragod, Bidar, Gulburga etc. along with Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Marathi, Kannada is also spoken by the people. Kannada which is spoken in North Karnataka is quite different from that of South Karnataka. This regional variation is seen because of the geographical distance of both the regions. Even in South Karnataka Kannada is varied from one geographical area to another geographical area. The Kannada language spoken in Mysore region is different from that of Chamarajanagar region because Chamarajanagar Kannada is influenced by the Tamil language. Similarly, Kannada which is spoken in Dharwad is varied from that of Mysore Kannada in pronunciation, accent and the style. Kannada spoken in Mangalore is different from Mysore and Dharwad Kannada.