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Monday, February 12, 2007

Tulu Language: Origin & Evolution

Tulu is a widely spoken language in coastal Karnataka,India. However, Tulu speaking people have been spread in many parts of the world, as a consequence of globalization and increase of opportunities.
My father late Budhananda K. Shivalli compiled extensive data on philology of Tulu language during the period 1977-1981 and his book "Tulu Patero" (written in Tulu language, using Kannada script) was posthumously published at Mangalore in the year 2004.
In the same publication (Tulu Patero), I wrote an editorial on the evolution of Tulu language and culture based on the available published data and analytical interpretations. One of the concepts I discussed in the said editorial was that Tulu tribes originated some 4000 years ago in northern part of African continent and possibly due certain sudden climatic, meteorological or other changes some of the Tulu tribes migrated to Baluchistan region.
Pirak town in Baluchistan ( now part of Pakistan) was a centre of civilization about 1700 BC. The word 'Pirak' has been retained in Tulu language signifying 'ancient'. I deduced that Tulu tribes subsequently migrated from Pirak to coastal Karnataka through what are now known as States of Rajasthan,Gujarat Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra.
Interestingly, the word Tulu has remained in certain African regions and in Afghanistan. Deratu Tulu is a famous Ethhiopian (female) athlete. An Afghan TV channel is known as Tulu TV.
Now I want to gather more information on this word TULU.
I request learned people who know these African/ Afghan regions and languages may kindly help me more information on these lines.


Manjunath said...


This is a great initiative. I'll blog about some of my doubts on this issue soon. Unfortunately, I don't have any formal education in linguistics. I just speculate. But I hope you will bear with my disagreements :-).

Ravi Mundkur said...

Thanks for comment.I have appreciatively read several of your blogs. I am not a linguist myself.I am straying into this as an cultivated hobby.I welcome your comments sportively.

Anonymous said...

hi Really a very good Blog spot.

I request you to add a section on Tulu Script and post the Old Tulu Script .

Request you to join



Ravi Mundkur said...

Thanks for compliments.
By the way I have already written something on Tulu script in postings No 14 and 15.
Further I shall add to it, as and when I get the additional analysed data.
Please keep visiting my blog and offer your comments and suggestions.

Dr Kadiyali M Srivatsa said...

Brilliant work, I have some old talipatra pages with tulu script. Have tried to find some one to read what my great grand father has been writing but could not.
After finding your publication in the blog, I am trying to identify few words. Thank you

Ravi Mundkur said...

Dr Srivatsa, welcome to the blog.Please feel free to share your thoughts with our fellow readers.Do write about those talipatra pages.

Anonymous said...

I deduced that Tulu tribes subsequently migrated from Pirak to coastal Karnataka through what are now known as States of
Rajasthan,Gujarat Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra.

I disagree with this and my logical answer goes like this,

1. Tulu tribes left their native (whatever it is) and came by sea, to costal Karnataka area by accidentally or purposely.
2. If I take this accidentally then they might have migrated due to natural disaster or looking for asylum
3. If I say purposely then they know the location and they are here for war, to defeat some kingdom .

why I disagree with your theory is, today tulu population is more than 2 million. so first migration at least had ten thousand people(10,000).

If they migrated from pirak to costal Karnataka by land by such a large number it’s pathetic , no imagination of destination and divided and subdivided into many groups and should have spread all over India and presence of Tulu language felt in many Indian language.

The way tulu people defeated the Portuguese (European navy was cunning, modern and knowledgeable ) navy shows that thier deep knowledge about sea war.

“aal” when Tulu Tribes migrated from piraka coastal to costal Karnataka as a sailor it is possible to maintain naturally well built body “aal”

If they migrated by land it is not at all possible to maintain their body Because land route was unbelievable and migration time would have been 50 to 500 years.

G Bangera

Ravi Mundkur said...

Dear G.Bangera
Welcome to the blog!
Wish you browse through rest of the posts in blog also to visualize some of my concepts on human migration as applied to Tulu people.
Some points I would like to pose before you here for further revaluation.
1. All the present 2 million Tulu people now living in Tulunad need not be construed as directed descendants of emigrants from Pirak. Even if we visualize ten families arriving from Pirak some 3000 years ago would grow into lakhs.
2. Both land and sea routes from Pirak to Tulunad are possible.There are relict evidences in the form of language and words on land route also.
3.There were numerous pre-Tulu tribes with their own set of languages before Tulu tribes arrived on the scene.
4. One more pre-Pirak phase probably Ethiopian/African can also be dlineated for Tulu tribes.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on this blog. I would like to congratulate the author on the good job done by him.

Though I am from Chennai, I have been in Bangalore for about a year and have a sufficient knowledge of Kannada. Since most of my colleagues are from the Dakshina Kannada region, I can also understand one or two words of tulu. I found close similarities between Tamil and Kannada. Though there aren't so many similarities between tamil and tulu, I observed that Tulu retained some authentic Dravidian words and roots that Kannada had lost. For example, the Tulu word for house is the Dravidian "illu" (Tamil/Malayalam: "illam") as oppposed to the Indo-Aryan "mane". Tulu also retained the words starting with "pa-" which in Kannada gets transformed to "ha-"

Interesting, there is a Tamil word 'Piragu' meaning 'after'.

Blog Archive

Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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