Kannada was before Tamil

Kannada is as old as Tamil and has influenced Tamil literature (Sangam period)
Amongst the South Indian Languages, there is written data available for Tamil, Kannada and Telugu languages. Whereas, Tamil Shaashanaas (records) have been found dating from 3rd century B. C.; in Kannada, the first shaashana is the 450 A.D. Halmidi shaashana. Ancient books like Vaddaaraadhane (800), Kaviraja Marga (850) are also available.
Though written literature appeared later, there are many other sources and proofs to prove Kannada’s antiquity:
1. 450 B.C. paaNini’s “aShTaadhaayi” has a reference to a “karnaadhaka” gOtra
2. 250 B.C. King Ashoka’s shaashana has a reference to name called “isila” which is said to be Kannada origin
3. 80 B.C. In the Prakrit shaashana of Madhavpur-Vadagavi, the word “NaaTapati” is a word of Kannada origin
4. 150 A.D. Ancient Greek historian Ptolemy’s book “Pappyrus” Kannada towns “kalligere”, “baadaami”, “mudugal” find mention.
5. 150 A.D. In the ancient Greek comedy “Aksirinkas Pappyri” there has been an attempt to understand Kannada words
6. 150 A.D.In a Prakrit shaashana, there are Kannada words like “maTTapaTTi” (maLavaLLi)
7. There is an abundance of Kannada in many Prakrit shaashanas:
a. Words “nagipa”, “saMkapa” found in the 100 B.C.Prakrit shaashana have a Kannada form
b. Usage of words like “manaaLi” originates in the union of two Kannada words “mun” + “paLLi”
c. Kannada towns have been named in constructs like “saMbalIva oora vaasinO”
d. “mooDaaNa” a word used in different languages to represent the Eastern direction is of Kannada origin
8. 150 A.D. In the Prakrit book “gaathaa saptashati” written by Haala Raja, Kannada words like “tIr”, “tuppa”, “peTTu”, “poTTu” have been used.
9. 250 A.D. On the Pallava Prakrit shaashana of Hire Hadagali’s Shivaskandavarman, Kannada word “kOTe” transforms into “koTTa”
10. 250 A.D. In the Tamil mega tome “shilappadikaaraM” written by Ilango Adi, there is reference to Kannada in the form of the ! word “karunaaDagar”
11. 350 A.D. In the Chandravalli Prakrit shaasana, words of Kannada origin like “punaaTa”, “puNaDa” have been used.
12. 250 A.D. In one more Prakrit shaasana found in Malavalli,
13. Kannada towns like “vEgooraM” (bEgooru), “kundamuchchaMDi” find reference.
In the recent 2003 Harvard publication “Early Tamil Epigraphy” authored by Iravatam Mahadev has important substance in the current discussion. This publication provides a new direction and paradigms to the question of Kannada’s antiquity. It extends the antiquity of Kannada to older times than presently known. It also presents a new thought that Tamil came under the Kannada influence in the years of B.C. timeframe. Some Tamil shaasana’s beginning in the 3rd century B.C. shows a marked Kannada influence.
In the 1-3 B.C. Tamil shaashanas, words of Kannada influence “nalliyooraa”, kavuDi”, “posil” have been introduced. The use of the vowel “a” as an adjective is not prevalent in Tamil, its usage is available in Kannada. Kannada words like “gouDi-gavuDi” transform into Tamil’s “kavuDi” for lack of the usage of “Ghosha
svana” in Tamil. That is the reason Kannada’s “gavuDi” becomes “kavuDi” in Tamil. “posil” (Kannada “hosilu”) is another Kannada word that got added into Tamil. Colloquial Tamil uses this word as “vaayil”.
In the 1 A.D. Tamil shaasana, there is a personal reference to “ayjayya” which is of Kannada origin. In another 3 A.D. Tamil shaasana, there is usage of the words “oppanappa vIran”. The influence of Kannada’s usage of “appa” to add respect to a person’s name is evident here. “taayviru” is another word of Kannada influence in another 4 A.D. Tamil shaasana. We can keep growing this list citing many such examples of Kannada’s influence on Tamil during the B.C.-A.D. times.
Kannada’s influence on ancient Tamil as depicted by the language of these shaasana’s is of historical importance. There are no written data available in Kannada from the times when these Tamil records show a marked Kannada influence. Moreover, there have been no findings/ discussions of this face of Tamil till now, that of a deep Kannada influence on it.
In the ambit of the current discussion in the country about “Classical Languages”, this influence of the influence of Kannada on ancient Tamil is of significance. In the Central Government’s announcement of “Tamil Language literature is of antiquity. It has grown independent of the influence of other languages’ literature. This is the reason that Tamil is being accorded the ‘Classical language’ tag”, these findings have shown the weak foundation on which the announcement was made. It has also shown the similar antiqueness of Kannada and the influence it had on Tamil to make it what it is now. These Tamil shaasanas have extended the horizons of understanding of ancient Karnataka’s language, and socio-religious culture.

Research by HAMPANA about Kannada that has been accepted by the Indian Govt

  1. Kannada came into its independent existence from the proto-Dravidian language in the 6 B.C. timeframe.
  2. In about 3-4 B.C. Kannada was already in use by the common people.
  3. In 3 B.C. Kannada influenced the Indo-Aryan languages like Prakrit.
  4. In the 2-1 B.C. timeframe, Kannada also influenced the Dravidian language Tamil.
  5. There are socio-political reasons for the 500 year delay of the emergence of Kannada in shaasanas when compared to Tamil shaasanas. That does not mean Kannada at that time did not have its own language, script and literature.
  6. The reasons for and against the emergence of Kannada were political: The Banavasi Kadambas were the first to use Kannada as the second administrative language. Badami Chalukyas were the first to use Kannada as a primary administrative language granting it patronage of being the official language and the language of the state. After that, Kannada has not looked back!

Tamilian Iravatham Mahadevan about Kannada Language

The scholar Iravatham Mahadevan proved that Kannada was already a language of rich oral tradition earlier than Tamil in 3rd century B.C., and based on the native Kannada words found in Prakrit and Tamil inscriptions of that period, Kannada must have been spoken by a widespread and stable population earlier than Tamil language.