Goa is a multi-lingual state, thanks to
its chequered history of thousands of years, which has seen people of
various regions, ethnic races and religions from India and abroad settling
in Goa and influencing the local language. At present, Marathi and Konkani
are the two major languages of Goa. Hindi, the
national language of India, is well understood in Goa too.
The Portuguese Influence
In major towns, English is widely used in writing and conversation. Goa being a major tourist place offers a tourist-friendly medium of interaction through English. On the other hand, Portuguese, the language of the colonial rulers and the official language till 1961 before liberation, notwithstanding the official patronage and a compulsory medium of study, failed to make a dent in the mind of the majority of Goans.
It remained only the language of the elite but alienated the masses. Thus just after the departure of the Portuguese, the Portuguese language lost all its favour and usage. However, very few - particularly the older or pre-liberation generation - still use Portuguese.
Konkani and Marathi, much related, survived in Goa by secret studies at home, in temples and public places in villages. Both Konkani and Marathi are derived from Sanskrit, the mother of majority of Indian languages. These two languages use "Devnagari" (literally meaning the city of God) script like Sanskrit. Hindi is also written in Devnagari script while Roman script is used for English and Portuguese.