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Konkani is a term used to refer both to a language and to an Indian ethnic group. The word derives from "kum", meaning 'Mother Earth' and "Kana", meaning 'dust' or 'atom'. The Konkani have been principally a farming community through most of their history, though now moving increasingly towards tourism.

The Konkani people trace their history as far back as 4000 BC; their current centre is in Goa and are thought to have settled there around the 11th century AD. The Konkani were a coastal people, also settling in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. Konkani brahmins are well known for the fact that they eat fish, a food that is generally forbidden for this caste (who are generally vegetarian).

The first book in Konkani was writted in 1651 by Friar Thomas Steven, titled Doctrina Christi (the Doctrines of Christ). This book is believed to be the first printed book published in an Asian language. However, the Konkani language is rapidly dying out — the progressive Westernisation of the Indian subcontinent (including the strong Portuguese influence in Goa from the 16th century) has resulted in English being widely spoken.

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