Logo in Kannada, programming skills for school
of Vishva Kannada, a scientist and Indian-language computing proponent,
Dr U B Pavanaja has a number of interests. But his most notable
achievement is in bringing computing to the common man by offering
regional language solutions. Pavanaja moved from science to computing
with an aim of developing specific Indic-language solutions, especially
in the Kannada language (spoken by 33 million people, mainly in
south India). He was the brain behind, “the world’s first Internet
magazine in Kannada”—www.vishvakannada.com Recently, he introduced
the Kannada version of Logo, a simple tool to help children understand
programming. Extracts from an interview with FREDERICK NORONHA
How useful has
the Kannada version of Logo proved to be?
Throughout the world, Logo is used in teaching programming and graphical
concepts to children between the ages of 9-14 years. The norm is
usually to study programming concepts in English from the 12th standard
onwards. English medium students have the advantage of studying
Logo in India. But Kannada medium (or any other Indian language
students) are deprived of learning a programming language. Kannada
Logo will fill this gap. We need a programming language at the school
level. That is the phase when a child begins to analyse and starts
thinking logically. We need a programming language that will tap
into this potential and hone these skills. We need people to develop
applications targeted at rural India. The logic skills developed
by using a programming language in Kannada will help achieve this.
you to take up this work?
The idea was with me for quite a while. There is no need to have
a programming language like C++, Pascal, etc. This is due to the
fact that all of us shift to English after finishing school. But
there is a need for a programming language that targets secondary
school children as well. I was surfing the Web for a Windows
version of Logo and I stumbled upon MSWLogo which is in a general
public license format with a shareable source code. There are French,
Japanese, Italian, German and many more versions of Logo. This prompted
me to start developing the Kannada version.
How long did
it take to develop Logo in Kannada?
I started it three years ago. Initially, I used Akruti fonts and
keyboard drivers. They were a bit expensive and the keyboard driver
was not available in DLL formats (only in SDK format) back then.
I had presented a demo tape of Kannada Logo to senior state officials,
who appreciated it and promised to sponsor the project. I changed
the project from Akruti to Nudi. Implementing the Kannada keywords,
keyboard driver, the GUI, etc. took quite sometime as the original
software is written for Latin scripts. It was a challenge to make
all the required changes in Kannada. I had to delete commands which
were given in English.
Can Logo be developed
in other Indian languages too?
The logic behind developing Logo in Kannada can be extended to other
languages. We plan to help other Indian-language developers from
our experience by sharing our knowledge-base on the Web. Already
groups have shown an interest in converting Logo in Hindi. I think
there will soon be a Logo version in all Indian languages.
In your opinion
which Indian language has made considerable progress in getting
I dont have much data here. I guess Tamil and Hindi have done
well. Languages like Oriya and Punjabi still have a long way to