Tulu: Wikis


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ತುಳು ಬಾಸೆ
Specimen of Tulu script
Spoken in India
Region Tulu Nadu: Region of Karnataka and Kerala States[1][2]
Gulf countries[4][5]
Total speakers 1.95 million (1997)[6]
Ranking 191 (1997 estimation)
Language family Dravidian
Writing system Tulu script (originally)
Kannada script (presently)[7]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3 tcy
Distribution of native Tulu speakers in India
Indic script
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...
Tulu is written in a non-Latin script (Kannada or Tulu). Tulu text used in this article is transliterated into the Latin script according to the ISO 15919 standard.

The Tulu language (IPA: [ˈtuːluː]—; Tulu: <Image: “Tuḷu bāse” in Tulu script> or ತುಳು ಬಾಸೆ,[8] Tuḷu bāse[ˈtuɭu ˈbɒːsæ] [?]) is a Dravidian language spoken by 1.95 million native speakers (1997)[6] mainly in the southwest part of India known as Tulu Nadu. In India, 1.72 million people speak it as their mother tongue (2001),[9] increased by 10 percent over the 1991 census.[10] According to one estimate reported in 2009, Tulu is currently spoken by three to five million native speakers in the world.[11] The native speakers of Tulu are referred to as Tuluva or Tulu people.

Separated early from Proto-South Dravidian,[12] Tulu has several features not found in Tamil-Kannada. For example, it has pluperfect and future perfect, like French or Spanish, but formed without an auxiliary verb. Robert Caldwell in his pioneering work A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages called this language “peculiar and very interesting”. According to him, “Tuḷu is one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family. It looks as if it had been cultivated for its own sake”.[13][14] The language does not have much written literature, but has a rich oral literature such as the Siri Epic.

It is the primary spoken language in Tulu Nadu, a region which comprises the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in the west of the state of Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk of Kerala. Apart from Tulu Nadu significant emigrant population of Tuluva people is found in Maharashtra,[3] Bangalore and Gulf countries.[4][15] Non-native speakers like the Konkani-speaking Mangalorean Catholics,Gowda Saraswath Brahmins and Daivajnas,as well as the Beary people in Tulu Nadu are generally well-versed in the language.[16] The language was originally written using the Tulu script, which is an adaptation of Grantha script. From the beginning of the 20th century the original script was abandoned in favour of the Kannada script.



Tulu belongs to the southern branch of the family of Dravidian languages. It descends directly from Proto Southern Dravidian which in turn descends directly from Proto-Dravidian, the hypothesised mother language from which all Dravidian languages descend.


Linguists have suggested that the word Tulu means that which is connected with water. ‘Tuluve’ (jack fruit) means ‘watery’ in Tulu. The other water-related words in Tulu which mean water or moisture are talipu, teli, teLi, teLpu, tuLipu, tulavu, tamel and, in addition, in Kannada there are words such as tuLuku and toLe. In Tamil tuli means drop of water, and tulli means the same in Malayalam. Thus it is believed that the word Tulu implies ‘related to water’. Therefore Tulu means the language of the waters, as the traditional homeland of the Tulu-speaking people is the coastal region of modern Karnataka and parts of Northern Kerala.


The oldest available inscriptions in Tulu are from the period between 14th to 15th century AD[17][18][19][20]. These inscriptions are in the Tulu script and are found in areas in and around Barkur which was the capital of Tulu Nadu during the Vijayanagar period. Another group of inscriptions are found in the Ullur Subrahmanya Temple near Kundapura. Thus going by physical evidence available regarding the use of the language, it is only about 600 years old. But many linguists like S.U. Panniyadi and L.S.U.V. Ramaswamy Iyer as well as P.S. Subrahmanya suggested that Tulu is among the oldest languages in the Dravidian family which branched independently from its Proto-Dravidian roots nearly 2,000 years ago. This assertion is based on the fact that Tulu still preserves many aspects (if not all) of Proto Dravidian language. This dating of Tulu is also based on the fact that region where Tulu is natively spoken was known to the ancient tamils as Tulu Nadu and the Tamil poet Mamular who belongs to the Sangam Age (200 AD) describes Tulu Nadu and its dancing beauties in one of his poems[21].In the Halmidi inscriptions one finds mention of the Tulu country as the kingdom of the Alupas[22]. The region was also known to the Greeks of the 2nd century as Tolokoyra. The history of Tulu would not be complete without the mention of the Charition mime, a Greek play belonging to 2nd century BC. The play's plot centres around the coastal Karnataka, where Tulu is mainly spoken. The play is mostly in Greek but the Indian characters in the play are seen speaking a language different from Greek. There is considerable ambiguity regarding the Indian language in the play, though all scholars agree the Indian language is Dravidian, but there is considerable dispute over which one. Noted German Indologist Dr. E. Hultzsch was the first to suggest about the language being Dravidian. The dispute regarding the language in the play is yet to be settled, but scholars agree that the dispute arises from the Fact that Old Kannada, Old Tamil And Tulu during the time when the play was written were perhaps dialectical variations of the Same Proto language and over the years they evolved into their present forms as separate languages.

Geographic distribution

Map Showing ancient Tulu kingdom of Alva Kheda

According to Malayalam works like Keralolpathi and Sangam literature in Tamil, the region stretching from the Chandragiri river, now part of the Kasaragod district of Kerala, to Gokarna, now part of Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, was ruled by the Alupas and was known as Alva Kheda. This kingdom was the homeland of the Tulu speaking people. However the present day Tulu linguistic Majority areas is confined to the region of Tulu Nadu which comprises the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in the Indian state of Karnataka And the northern part of Kasaragod district of Kerala up to the river Payaswani also known as Chandragiri.,[23]. The cities of Mangalore, Udupi and Kasaragod being the cultural centres of Tulu culture. Tuluvas have a saying: "Oorudu nanji aanda paarad badkodu". A loose translation would be: "If it's tough at home; run away and survive". Tuluvas are true to this character and have migrated to other places in great numbers. Early migration was to neighbouring regions like Malabar (now Kerala), Mysore kingdom, Madras Presidency ( Tamil Nadu now - areas like salem, attur, chinnasalem, thiruvannamalai, villupuram, vellore, chennai and perambalur). The large scale migration of Tulu speaking people from undivided South Canara district to other provinces ( regions ) of India happened during World War I, but there is no concrete materialistic evidence to prove. The reason being rationing of food grains by British who where ruling India then and spread of communicable diseases. The next wave of emigration was during World War II, now they settled in interior parts of Karnataka, coastal Andhra Pradesh and also to far off cities like Mumbai and Chennai. They mostly did business of running restaurants serving Udupi cuisine. Mumbai and Thane in Maharastra state has a sizable population of Tuluvas. Even today Tulu is widely spoken in the Dakshina Kannada, Udupi district and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka state and Kasaragod of Kerala. Efforts are also being made to include Tulu in the list of Official languages of India.[24]


Tulu was originally written using the Tulu script which is an Abugida and contains 46 letters, 11 of which represent the vowels (A, AA, I, II, U, UU, VOCALIC R, E, AI, O), the other 35 represent the consonants. In addition to which there are three signs which represent Virama,Anusvara and Visarga. Additionally, there are signs for all vowels. The numbers 0 to 9 are represented through separate characters. The script was derived from the Grantha and bears partial similarity to Malayalam script. Towards the end of the 20th century the practice of writing Tulu in Tulu script faced a decline and was gradually abandoned in favour of the Kannada script which is also an Abugida. This adoption of Kannada script for writing Tulu is mainly attributed to the German missionaries, who had established a printing press in Mangalore which used the Kannada script. These very missionaries used to publish literature in both Kannada and Tulu. While producing Tulu literature which included a dictionary, short stories as well the Tulu translation of the bible they made use of the Kannada script. Another important factor that worked in favour of the Kannada script was that most Tulu speakers if not all were bilingual in Kannada. Thus the new era of Tulu literary renaissance began with the Kannada script and today the script is the de facto script for Tulu, though many Tulu linguists and Tulu literary personalities have voiced their opinion in favour of reviving the original script of the language.[25]


Tulu language has namely four dialects. These dialects show slight variations and are more or less similar to each other.

The four dialects are as follows:

  1. Common Tulu[26]: Spoken by the majority includes the Billava, Mogaveera, Bunts communities and others. This is the dialect of Commerce Trade and entertainment and is mainly used for inter community communication. It is further subdivided into five groups:
    1. Northwest Tulu: Spoken in Udupi and Mangalore.
    2. Northeast Tulu: Spoken in Karkala and Belthangadi.
    3. Southwest Tulu: Spoken in Manjeshwar and Kasaragod, known as Kasaragod Tulu.
    4. Southcentral Tulu: Spoken in Bantwal, Puttur.
    5. Southeast Tulu: Spoken in Sullia.
  2. Brahmin Tulu[26]: Spoken by the Tulu brahmins who are subdivided into Shivalli Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins and Tuluva Hebbars. It is slightly influenced by Sanskrit.
  3. Jain Dialect[27]: Spoken by the Tulu Jains. It is a dialect where the initial letter 'T' and 'S' have been replaced by letter 'H'. For example, the word Tare is pronounced as Hare, Saadi is pronounced as Haadi.
  4. Harijan Dialect[27]: Spoken by the Mera, Mansa, Harijan and Tribal classes.

Spoken characteristics


Five short and five long vowels (a, ā, e, ē, u, ū, i, ī, o, ō) are common in Dravidian languages. Like Kodava Takk (and also like Konkani and Sinhala), Tulu also has an [ɛ]- or [æ]-like vowel, generally occurring word-finally. Neither Kannada script nor Tulu script has a symbol to specifically represent this vowel, which is often written as a normal e.[28] For example, the first person singular form and the third person singular masculine form of a verb are spelled identically in all tenses, both ending in e, but are pronounced differently: the terminating e in the former sounds nearly like ‘a’ in the English word ‘man’ (ಮಳ್ಪುವೆ maḷpuve /maɭpuvæ/, “I make”), while that in the latter like ‘e’ in ‘men’ (ಮಳ್ಪುವೆ maḷpuve /maɭpuve/, “he makes”).[29] Paniyadi in his 1932 grammar used a special vowel sign to denote Tulu /ɛ/ in the Kannada script: according to Bhat, he used two telakaṭṭus for this purpose (usually, a telakaṭṭu means the crest that a Kannada character like ಕ, ತ, ನ has), and the same convention was adopted by Upadhyaya in his 1988 Tulu Lexicon.[28] The long counterpart of this vowel occurs in some words.[30] In all dialects, the pair /e/ and /ɛ/ contrasts.[30]

Additionally, like Kodava Takk and Toda, and especially like Malayalam saṁvr̥tōkāram, Tulu has an [ɯ]-like vowel (or schwa /ə/) as a phoneme, which is romanized as ŭ (ISO), ɯ, or . Both J. Brigel and A. Männer say that it is pronounced like e in the French je. If so, its phonetic value may be [œ]. However, if it is like Malayalam “half-u”, [ə] or [ɨ] may be a better description. Bhat describes this phoneme as /ɯ/. In the Kannada script, Brigel and Männer used a virama (halant),  ್, to denote this vowel. Bhat says a telakaṭṭu is used for this purpose, but apparently he too means a virama.[31]

  Front Back
Rounded Unrounded
Short Long Short Long Short Long
Close i u ɯ (ə)  
Mid e o    
Open ɛ (æ) ɛː (æː) a    

The following are consonant phonemes in Tulu:

  Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar
Plosive Voiceless p t ʈ c (t͡ʃ) k
Voiced b d ɖ ɟ (d͡ʒ) ɡ
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Approximant ʋ     j  
Lateral   l ( ɭ )    
Tap   ɾ      
Fricative   s   ç (ʃ)  

The contrast between /l/ and /ɭ/ is preserved in the South Common dialect and in the Brahmin dialect, but is lost in several dialects.[30] Additionally, the Brahmin dialect has /ʂ/ and /ɦ/. Aspirated consonants are sometimes used in the Brahmin dialect, but are not phonemic.[30] In the Koraga and Holeya dialects, s /s/ and ś /ʃ/ merge with c /t͡ʃ/ (the Koraga dialect of the Tulu language is different from the Koraga language).[30] Word-initial consonant clusters are rare and occur mainly in Sanskrit loanwords.[30]


Tulu has five parts of speech: nouns (substantives and adjectives), pronouns, numerals, verbs, and particles.[32]

Substantives have three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), two numbers (singular and plural), and eight cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, locative, ablative or instrumental, communicative, and vocative). According to Bhat, Tulu has two distinct locative cases. The communicative case is used with verbs like “tell”, “speak”, “ask”, “beseech”, “inquire”, and denotes at whom a message, an inquiry, or a request is aimed, as in “I told him.” or “I speak to them.” It is also used to denote relationship with whom it is about, in a context like “I am on good terms with him.” or “I have nothing against him.”[33] Bhat calls it the sociative case. It is somewhat similar to the comitative case, but different in that it denotes communication or relationship, not physical companionship. The plural suffix is -, -ḷu, -kuḷu, or -āḍḷu; as, mēji (“table”), mējiḷu (“tables”).[34] The nominative case is unmarked, while the remaining cases are expressed by different suffixes.

The following table shows the declension of a noun, based on Brigel and Bhat ( used by Brigel and ɯ used by Bhat are both shown as ŭ for clarity): when two forms are given, the one in parentheses is by Bhat, and the other is by Brigel.[35][36] Some of these differences may be dialectal variations.

Declension of substantives: example mara (“a tree”)
Case Singular Meaning Plural Meaning
Nominative mara a tree marokuḷu (marakulu) trees
Genitive marata of a tree marokuḷe (marakulena) of trees
Dative maroku (marakŭ) to a tree marokuḷegŭ (marakulegŭ) to trees
Accusative maronu (maranŭ) a tree (object) marokuḷenŭ (marakulenŭ) trees (object)
Locative maroṭu (maraṭŭ) in a tree marokuḷeḍŭ (marakuleḍŭ) in trees
Locative 2 — (maraṭɛ) at or through a tree — (marakuleḍɛ) at or through trees
Ablative maroḍŭdu (maraḍdŭ) from, by, or through a tree marokuḷeḍŭdŭ (marakuleḍdŭ) from, by, or through trees
Communicative maraṭa to a tree marokuḷeḍa (marakuleḍa) to trees
Vocative marā O tree! marokuḷē (marakulɛ̄) O trees!

The personal pronouns are irregularly inflected: yānŭ “I” becomes yen- in oblique cases.[37] Tulu makes the distinction between the inclusive and exclusive “we” (See Clusivity: Dravidian languages): nama “we (including you)” as opposed to yenkuḷu “we (not including you)”.[38] For verbs, this distinction does not exist. The personal pronouns of the second person are ī (oblique: nin-) “you (singular)” and nikuḷu “you (plural)”. Three genders are distinguished in the third person, as well as proximate and remote forms. For example, imbe “he (proximate)”, āye “he (remote)”. The suffix - makes a polite form of personal pronouns, as in īrŭ “you (respectfully)”, ārŭ “he (remote; respectfully)”.[38] Postpositions are used usually with a noun in the genitive case, as in guḍḍe-da mittŭ “on the hill”.

Tulu verbs have three forms: active, causative, and reflexive (or middle voice).[39] They conjugate for person, number, gender, tense (present, past, pluperfect, future, and future perfect), mood (indicative, imperative, conditional, infinitive, potential, and subjunctive), and polarity (positive and negative).[40]

Written Literature

The written literature of Tulu isn't as vast when compared to literature of other literary dravidian languages like Tamil[41] Nevertheless Tulu is one among the only Five literary Dravidian languages, the other four being Tamil,Telugu,Kannada and Malayalam. The earliest available Tulu literature that survives to this date is the Tulu Translation of the great Sanskrit epic of Mahabharata called Tulu Mahabharato. It was written by Arunabja, a poet who lived in Kodavur near Udupi[42] around late 14th to early 15th century AD. The other important literary works in Tulu are as follows

Until the middle of the 19th century, “a modification of the Malayalam alphabet” was used to write Tulu.[43] More specifically, up to about 1600 the Tulu and Malayalam alphabets were identical, and hardly differed from the Tulu hand in the 19th century.[44] This script was used to write Sanskrit, and had seldom, if ever, been applied to write the vernacular language.[44] According to Ethnologue (2009), philosophical texts and religious verses are sometimes written in this script.[6] The Kannada script, on the other hand, was introduced by the Basel Mission Press. Even Today the official script of The eight Tulu monasteries founded by Madhvacharya in Udupi is that of Tulu.[citation needed] The pontiff of the monasteries write their names using this script when they are appointed.[citation needed] Modern day Tulu literature is written using the Kannada script. Mandara Ramayana is the most notable piece of modern Tulu literature. Written by mandara keshava bhatt, it was awarded with the Sahitya Academy award for best poetry.[45] Madipu,Mogaveera,Saphala and Samparka are popular Tulu periodicals published from mangalore. Tulu Sahitya Academy established by the state government of Karnataka, India in 1994 as also the Kerala Tulu academy established by the Indian State Government of Kerala in Manjeshwaram in the year 2007 are important Governmental organisations that promote Tulu literature. Nevertheless there are numerous organisations spread all over the world with significant Tulu migrated populations that contribute to Tulu literature. Some notable contributors of Tulu literature are Kayyara Kinyanna Rai, Amruta Someshwara, B. A. Viveka Rai, Kedambadi Jattappa Rai, Venkataraja Puninchattaya, Paltadi Ramakrishna Achar Dr. Sunitha M. Shetty, Dr. Vamana Nandavara, Sri. Balakrishna Shetty Polali.

Oral Traditions

The Oral Traditions of Tulu are one of the major traditions that greatly show the finer aspects of the language. The following are various forms of Tulu oral tradition and literature.

  • Paddanas :A form of oral Epic poem sung in a highly stylised manner during the Hindu rituals of Bhuta Kola and Nagaradhane, which are peculiar to the Tulu people. These paddanas are mostly legends about gods or historical personalities among the people.

The longest of them being Siri Paddana, which is about a woman called Siri who shows strength and integrity during adverse times and in turn attains divinity. The paddana greatly depicts the independent nature of the Tulu womenfolk. The entire paddana was written down by Finnish scholar Lauri Honko[21] of Turku University and it falls four lines short of Homer's Iliad, the world's longest poem.

  • Riddles : They are another important aspect of Tulu oral traditions. These riddles are largely tongue twisting and mostly deal with kinship and agriculture.
  • Bhajans: Bhajans sung in numerous temples across the Tulu region are varied and are dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Most of them being of Hindu tradition, others being Jain. They are sung in both the Carnatic style as well a style similar to what is used in Yakshagana
  • Kabitol: Sung during cultivation of crops, the traditional occupation of the people.O Bele being the finest among them.

Theatre and Films

A Yakshagana Artist
A female character in Yakshagana

Theatre in form of the Traditional Yakshagana, prevalent in coastal Karnataka and northern kerala has greatly preserved the finer aspects of the Tulu language. Yakshagana which is conducted in both Tulu and Kannada is pretty popular among the Tuluva people.[citation needed] It can also been seen as a form of temple art, as there are many yakshagana groups that are attached to temples namely that of Kateel Durga Parameshwari Temple as also the Udupi Krishna Temple. At present eight professional Yakshagana troupes perform only Tulu Yakshagana[citation needed] not only during the Yakshagana season but also during the off season in various places of Karnataka and outside.[citation needed] In Mumbai Tulu Yakshagana is very popular among the Tulu people there. More than 2000 Yakshagana artists take part in the performance in various places in Mumbai annually.[citation needed] Notable performers of Tulu yakshagana include Kalladi Koraga Shetty Pundur Venkatraja Puninchathaya, Guru Bannanje Sanjiva Suvarna and Pathala Venkatramana Bhat. Tulu plays are one among the major entertainment for admirers of art and culture originating and flourishing in the Tulu Nadu. Tulu plays are generally centered on the comic genre are very popular in Mumbai and Bangalore outside Tulu Nadu[46] Tulu Film industry is pretty small; it produces 2 to 3 films annually. The first fim being Enna Thangadi released in 1971. Usually these films are released in theatres across the Tulu Nadu region and on DVD.[47] The critically acclaimed Tulu Film Suddha, won the award for the best Indian Film at the Osian film festival held at New Delhi in the year 2006.[48][49][50]

Centres of Tulu Study and Research

The front cover of the Tulu dictionary published by manner in 1886

Tulu as a language continues to thrive in coastal Karnataka and Kasaragod in Kerala. Tulu Sahitya Academy, an institute established by the state government of Karnataka has introduced Tulu as a language in schools around coastal Karnataka. Some names are Alva's High School, Moodbidri; Dattanjaneya High School, Odiyoor; Ramakunjeshwara English-medium High School, Ramakunja; and Vani Composite Pre-University College, Belthangady. The Academy is planning to add more schools and is awaiting government permission for the same. Tulu is also thought as a study language in post graduate level in Mangalore University and there is also a dedicated department for Tulu studies, Translation and research at Dravidian University[51] in Kuppam Andhra Pradesh.The Government Degree College at Kasaragod in Kerala has also introduced a certificate course in Tulu from the academic year 2009-2010. It has introduced Tulu as an optional subject in its Kannada post-graduation course also. It has adopted syllabi from the books published by the Tulu Sahitya Academy. German misionaries Rev Kammerer and Rev. Manner were the first two people who conducted research on the language. Rev Krammer collected about 3,000 words and their meaning until he died. Later his work was carried on by Rev. Manner, who completed the research and published the first dictionary of Tulu language in 1886 with the help of the then Madras government. The effort though laudable was incomplete as it did not cover all the aspects of the language. The Govinda Pai Research Centre at MGM College, Udupi started an 18-year Tulu lexicon project in the year 1979.[52] Different dialects, special vocabularies used for different occupational activities, rituals, and folk literature in the forms of Paād-danāas were included in this project. The Centre has also released a six-volume, trilingual, modestly priced Tulu-Kannada-English lexicon. The Tulu lexicon was awarded the Gundert Award for the best dictionary in the country in 1996.

Language Tree

The languages recognized as Official languages of India are in boldface.


Tamil languages (incl. Tamil)


Kodagu (Kodava)



























Ollari (Gadaba)



Kurukh (Oraon)


Kumarbhag Paharia

Sauria Paharia


Language tree of South India Languages, showing Tulu branched out as an independent language at a very early stage.

Demand for a separate Tulunadu state

The Tulu speakers of Southern India are a separate culture from the Kannadigas within India. From India's independence and following the reorganization of states, the Tuluvas have been demanding official language status for Tulu and a separate state for themselves. Though a bit subdued in between, this demand has grown stronger in recent years.[53] Several organizations like the Tulu Rajya Horata Samiti have taken up the cause of the Tuluvas and frequent meetings and demonstrations are held across towns in Tulunadu (like Mangalore, Udupi etc) to voice their demands.[54][55]

It is not surprising that the Tulu speakers demand for the status of scheduled language.[56] In India Tulu is one of the most-spoken non-scheduled languages after all; then, the general tendency is that if the speakers of the language are in a geographically contiguous place, they also seek a separate state, and then, seek the status of official language in the concerned state.[56] The 44th report of the National Commissioner Linguistic Minorities, presented to the President in 2007, recognizes newly-born websites on the Internet for linguistic minorities, including www.boloji.com for Tulu,[57] and according to their 41st report, Tulu Academy is fairly active. However, it is unclear how intense their demands for separation actually are. On the other hand, as of 2007 Tulu is not yet the medium of instruction nor the subject to teach even at the primary level of education in Karnataka.

See also

External links


  1. ^ http://www.ciil-ebooks.net/html/piil/acharya1b.html
  2. ^ http://www.ciil.org/Main/Announcement/Abstracts/Abstacts/11.htm
  3. ^ a b http://www.languageinindia.com/may2003/maharashtraurdu.html
  4. ^ a b http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=139752
  5. ^ "Dr Veerendra Heggade in Dubai to Unite Tuluvas for Tulu Sammelan". Daijiworld. Daijiworld Media. August 9, 2009. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=63861. 
  6. ^ a b c Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009), "Tulu", Ethnologue: Languages of the World (16th ed.), SIL International, http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tcy, retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  7. ^ http://www.elda.org/en/proj/scalla/SCALLA2004/mallikarjunv3.pdf
  8. ^ The Tulu language can be written in two different scripts: Tuḷu bāse is written <Image: Tuḷu bāse> in Tulu script, and ತುಳು ಬಾಸೆ in Kannada script. ಭಾಷೆ bhāṣe, ಭಾಶೆ, bhāśe, and ಬಾಶೆ bāśe are alternative spellings for the Tulu word bāse in the Kannada script. The correct spelling for the word “language” in Kannada is ಭಾಷೆ bhāṣe, but that is not necessarily true in Tulu. Männer’s Tulu-English and English-Tulu Dictionary (1886) says, “ಬಾಶೆ, ಬಾಸೆ bāšè, bāsè, see ಭಾಷೆ.” (vol. 1, p. 478), “ಭಾಶೆ, ಭಾಷೆ bhāšè, bhāshè, s. Speech, language.” (vol. 1, p. 508), meaning that the four spellings are more or less acceptable. The word is actually pronounced ಬಾಸೆ bāse in Tulu. Note that š and sh in his dictionary correspond to ś and , respectively, in ISO 15924.
  9. ^ "Census of India - Statement 1". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/Census_Data_Online/Language/Statement1.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  10. ^ "Non-Scheduled Languages". Central Institute of Indian Languages. http://www.ciil.org/Main/Languages/tribal.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  11. ^ Mannan, Moiz (August 30, 2009), "Convention to draw attention to Tulu culture", The Peninsula On-line (The Peninsula), http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=world_news&month=august2009&file=world_news2009083021843.xml 
  12. ^ "Language Family Trees: Dravidian, Southern", Ethnologue (16th ed.).
  13. ^ Caldwell (1856), p. 35.
  14. ^ Raghuram, M. (July 16, 2002), "Tulu fit to be included in Eighth Schedule", The Hindu (The Hindu Group), http://www.hindu.com/2002/07/16/stories/2002071602460300.htm. 
  15. ^ http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=63861&
  16. ^ Steever, Sanford B. (1998). The Dravidian Languages. Taylor & Francis. pp. 162. ISBN 0415100232. 
  17. ^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=CF5Qo4NDE64C&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=tulu+inscriptions&source=bl&ots=btPB6bjmx2&sig=BTYgrmMs3P-ziBnZrz19kWS6xcs&hl=en&ei=MzT5SoyUCIPzkAWbpbGyCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CA4Q6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=tulu%20inscriptions&f=false
  18. ^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=H3lUIIYxWkEC&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=tulu+inscriptions&source=bl&ots=xc9C8QbRfE&sig=X_qLf1mbxUtq3lPPkecnYcwCTjo&hl=en&ei=_zT5So6yLtWOkQXh2IS1Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAoQ6AEwATge#v=onepage&q=tulu%20inscriptions&f=false
  19. ^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=zsQc6oFXvPkC&pg=PA64&lpg=PA64&dq=tulu+inscriptions&source=bl&ots=WTKdEvrROO&sig=zkdUkZW-tgWX1MSKg4yqK95NKh4&hl=en&ei=_zT5So6yLtWOkQXh2IS1Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CBoQ6AEwBzge#v=onepage&q=tulu%20inscriptions&f=false
  20. ^ http://amazingudupi.com
  21. ^ a b http://www.thehindu.com/2002/07/16/stories/2002071602460300.htm
  22. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Mangalore/Teaching_Tulu_at_primary_level_sought/articleshow/4030806.cms
  23. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2006/08/13/stories/2006081317290300.htm
  24. ^ Why Tulu language deserves recognition from Kendra Sahithya Academy and why it should be included in schedule 8B of the constitution
  25. ^ Radhika, M. (8 October 2005). "Dharam Singh pushes for Tulu rights". Tehelka. http://www.tehelka.com/story_main14.asp?filename=Ne100805Dharam_Singh.asp. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  26. ^ a b http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tcy
  27. ^ a b http://www.boloji.com/places/0020a.htm
  28. ^ a b Bhat (1998), p. 163.
  29. ^ Brigel, J. (1872). "A Grammar of the Tulu Language". C. Stolz. p. 47. http://www.archive.org/details/grammaroftululan00briguoft. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f Bhat (1998), p. 161.
  31. ^ Bhat (1998), pp. 162–163.
  32. ^ Brigel (1872), p. 10.
  33. ^ Brigel (1872), p. 122
  34. ^ Brigel (1872), pp. 10–11.
  35. ^ Brigel (1872), pp. 14–15.
  36. ^ Bhat (1998), p. 164.
  37. ^ Brigel (1872), p. 37.
  38. ^ a b Brigel (1872), p. 33.
  39. ^ Brigel (1872), p. 43.
  40. ^ Brigel (1872), p. 45.
  41. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/21/stories/2009052150550200.htm.
  42. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2004/11/13/stories/2004111302140500.htm
  43. ^ Brigel (1872), Prefatory Note.
  44. ^ a b Burnell (1874), p. 35.
  45. ^ http://www.sahitya-akademi.gov.in/old_version/awa4.htm
  46. ^ http://www.daijiworld.com/chan/exclusive_arch.asp?ex_id=107
  47. ^ http://www.raveeshkumar.com/2006/08/tulu-cinema-at-35_31.html
  48. ^ http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1063429/
  49. ^ http://www.hindu.com/mp/2006/04/29/stories/2006042903020300.htm
  50. ^ http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/21/stories/2006072108810200.htm
  51. ^ http://www.dravidianuniversity.ac.in/tuludept.html
  52. ^ http://www.rediff.com/news/sep/22udupi.htm
  53. ^ http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=27089&n_tit=News+headlines
  54. ^ [1]
  55. ^ [2]
  56. ^ a b Mallikarjun, B.: An Exploration into Linguistic Majority-Minority Relations in India, 8. DYNAMISM, LANGUAGE IN INDIA, Volume 4: 8 August 2004
  57. ^ National Commissioner Linguistic Minorities (2007), 44th report (DOC), Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India.


  • Caldwell, R., A comparative grammar of the Dravidian, or, South-Indian family of languages, London: Harrison, 1856.; Reprinted London, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & co., ltd., 1913; rev. ed. by J.L. Wyatt and T. Ramakrishna Pillai, Madras, University of Madras, 1961, reprint Asian Educational Services, 1998. ISBN 81-206-0117-3
  • Danielou, Alain (1985), Histoire de l'Inde, Fayard, Paris. ISBN 2-213-01254-7.
  • Hall, Edith (2002), "The singing actors of antiquity" in Pat Easterling & Edith Hall, ed., Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-65140-9.
  • Thesis of Viveka Rai
  • Lauri Honko, Textualisation of oral epics. ISBN 3-110-1692-82
  • William Pais, Land Called South Canara. ISBN 8-175-2514-84
  • Bhat, S.L. A Grammar of Tulu: a Dravidian language ISBN 8-185-6911-26
  • Manner, A. English-Tulu Dictionary ISBN 8-120-6026-33
  • Briegel, J. A Grammar of the Tulu language Char and Roman ISBN 8-120-6007-03
  • Bhat, D. N. S. (1998), "Tulu", in Steever, Sanford B., The Dravidian Languages, Routledge, pp. 158–177, ISBN 0-415-1002-32 
  • Vinson, Julien (1878), Le verbe dans les langues dravidiennes: tamoul, canara, télinga, malayâla, tulu, etc., Maisonneuve et cie., Paris.
  • Burnell, Arthur Coke (1874), Elements of South-Indian Palæography from the Fourth to the Seventeenth Century A.D., Trübner & Co.
  • Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003), The Dravidian Languages, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521771110

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Tulu phrasebook article)

From Wikitravel

Tulu is a regional language spoken in coastal districts of Karnataka i.e. Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. It is the 24th most populous Indian language according to the 2001 census of India. It is often mistakenly claimed as a dialect of Kannada. In reality, it is an independently derived descendent of the proto-Dravidian language. Tulu does not have a widely used script, though efforts are on to discover or construct one. Currently, most writing in the language is in the Kannada script. A lack of a script, however, has not prevented it from developing a vibrant literature of its own, most notably poems and plays.

One remarkable feature of Tulu is the number of dialects that you will find in the small geographical area. Not only are there regional differences, there are also caste-based dialects. Different sub-castes of Brahmins speak different dialects of Tulu, all of them different from the "standard" dialect described here.

Pronunciation guide



NamaskAra. ( )
Hello. (informal
Namaskara . ( )
How are you? 
Encha uller? ( ?)
Fine, thank you. 
HushAr ulle. ( )
What is your name? 
Eerena pudar daytha/ena/enchina/dada?( ?)
My name is ______ . 
enna pudar . ( <name>.)
Nice to meet you. 
Thikene santosha aandu . ( )
daya maltudu. ( )
Thank you. 
. ( )
You're welcome. 
Swagaata . ( )
andu. ( )
attu. ( )
Excuse me. (getting attention
. ( )
Excuse me. (begging pardon
. ( )
I'm sorry. 
thapu aandu . ( )
thikga . ( )
Goodbye (informal
Barpe . ( )
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
Enku TULU pAtere gotuji [ ]. ( [ ])
Do you speak English? 
Eereg English pateriyera gottunda? ( ?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
English gottitthina aglu ullera? ( ?)
saaya! ( !)
Look out! 
jaagrathe! ( !)
Good morning. 
. ( )
Good evening. 
. ( )
Good night. 
. ( )
Good night (to sleep
. ( )
I don't understand. 
enk gottu aapujji. ( )
Where is the toilet? 
Toilet Vondu ? ( ?)
coconut tender water 
Bonda ( !)
thaarai ( !)


thondareh kasta

onji (...)
raddu (...)
mooji (...)
naalu (...)
ainu (...)
aaji (...)
yeLu (...)
yenma (...)
ormba (...)
pattu (...)
patt-onji (...)
pad-radu (...)
padi-mooji (...)
padi-naalu (...)
padi-nainu (...)
padi-naaji (...)
padi-nelu (...)
padi-nenamma (...)
padi-noramba (...)
iruva (...)
iruvatha onji (...)
iruvatha eradu (...)
iruvatha mooji (...)
muppa (...)
nalpa (...)
aiva (...)
ajippa (...)
elpa (...)
enpa (...)
sonpa (...)
noodu (...)
irnoodu (...)
munnoodu (...)
onji savira (...)
raddu savira (...)
pattu laksha (...)
noodu koti
pattu savira koti
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
number _____ (...)
ardha (...)
kammi (...)
jasthi (...)



Clock time

ganthe yeth aand?


yeth portuddu inchi


ini va dina



Writing time and date


red kempu blue nili green pacche white boldu black kappu


Bus and train


mithu up, thirthu down, dumbu front, phira back, inchidu-from here, unchiddu-from there, kaithal -near, doora -far, padai-west, moodai-east, balatha kai- right hand, yedatha kai- left hand,



badai the illu


dhodu money chillarey change


Thinpini- to eat, purpini -to drink, ahtil -kitchen/cook, cheepe- sweet, khara- spicy, ooppu- salt, vanthe- little, balasle- serve, kaippu- curry, alley- butter milk, puli- sour/tamrind, noopu- rice, tethi- egg, kori- chicken, meen- fish, masa- meat, boothayi-sardine, manji-pomfret, bangude-mackerel, thaateh-shark, koyollu-shell fish, yeti-prawns, bareh the parndu -bannana, kooku-mango kerengeh -sweet potato


gangasara alchohol



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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TULU, or Ttluva, a language of the Dravidian family, found chiefly in the South Kanara district of Madras. It has no literature, nor has it been adopted for official use even where it is spoken by the majority of the population. In 1901 the total number of speakers of Tulu exceeded half a million.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:






Tulu (uncountable)

  1. A Dravidian language of India with fewer than two million speakers, known as Tuluvas.

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Tulu is a language mainly spoken in Coastal Karnataka and part of northern Kerala. Tulu is one of the Dravidian languages like Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu , but is less developed compared to its sister languages.


The coastal city of Mangalore in Karnataka, is the main center of Tulu people. It is spoken by different castes and subcastes of Hindus, Jains and Christians of this region, which is also known as Tulunadu. Tulunadu is a beautiful hilly region.


Though Tulu has an ancient script, it is generally referred to as a language without script. This is because, the script is totally unknown among its own people. It has been known only among the Tulu brahmins, who mainly used it for maintaining the Sanskrit Mantras (hymns used in Hindu religious ceremonies), in Astrology and in medicinal reference books, in which these brahmins where revered in the entire west-coast of India. However, recent researches have revealed that, Tulu has got a number of ancient books with scholarly written literature, all of them written in this -currently almost extinct -Tulu script. But currently, a few periodicals published in Tulu language and books written now and then in Tulu - all use Kannada script (though it is not suitable for certain peculiar pronounciations of Tulu).


One more notable thing about this poor sister of Dravidian Language family, is that, eventhough it is now confined to just 2-3 districts, it has a number of dialects. These dialects are mainly regional and also based on castes and subcastes of Tulu speaking Hindus. One of these dialects spoken by the Tulu brahmins called Shivalli brahmins (and also spoken by Sthanika brahmins), is the one which is mainly used for all the literary works found in the language.


It may be worth noting here that, most of these ancient Tulu literary works have been located and published by a single man -Venkataraja Puninchathaya of Kasaragod, Kerala. This quite interesting language has got a very rich vocabulary for expressing the rural coastal life of the Tulu people. This has been proved by the voluminous Tulu Encyclopedia published in eight volumes from Udupi.


Tulu people have got their own unique culture, art, traditions and rituals. Bhoota Kola, Yakshagana and Nagaradhane are a few examples.

The People

The Tulu people are learned, highly enterprenual and cultured. This area has been declared as Fully Literate and the area always stands first in the general board exam results. Tulu people are contributing in all the fields and are spread all over the country and abroad.

History and present situation

Historically, Tulunadu was ruled by only some small rulers who ruled under one or other great dynasty of Kannada kings. Because of this historical reason, Tulu people recognise themselves as Kannadigas only and contributed a lot for the development of Kannada language. Tulu is not a medium of teaching and administration even in a 100% Tulu village and Kannada has occupied that place. Now a days, Tulu is studied only at Post-graduate level in the Mangalore University.


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