Friday, August 8, 2008

134.TuLu vs. Italian

Contributed by Narayana T. Shetty,Italy

There is a proverb in Tulu which says "mara puTTinalpane, manushye (narAmaAni) poyinalpane”. Therefore we do not know from where we came and to that matter we do not know where we will be tomorrow. Therefore we Tuluva's can not rule out the possibility of being 'Romans' or vice versa. According to V. Ramchandra Rao : There was a colony of Italian merchants in Tamilnadu. Besides the Italians were employed as bodyguard-soldiers by Pallava kings around 300 BC, because they were somewhat dim and couldn’t speak Tamil, hence not likely to get into palace intrigues .
Who knows what is hiding in the "Kaala Garbha".

Italian language is one of the five neo-latin or Romance languages. Others are French, Spanish, Portuguese & Rumanian. Italian is closer to Latin than rest of these languages. It is believed that some 3700 years ago Latin & Greek split out from Sanskrit.

Tulu and Italian
'Tulu' does not form a part of Indo-European language group. So if there are plenty of 'Sanskrit' words in Italian languages it is because they are genetically related. How do you explain Tulu or Kannada words in Italian? How come Tulu grammar resembles that of Italian?
Here are the some examples:

1. In Tulu, all verbs in their infinite form ends with -are or -ere. In Italian they end with -are, -ere, or -ire.

e.g.: 'Parlare' (=to speak) : Pateriere (Tulu)
Finire (=to end) : Piriare (Tulu)
Avere (=to have) : Avare (Tulu)
Bere (to drink) = Parre (Tulu)

(Note: Bere even if it is written with single 'r' it is pronounced exactly like Tulu as if there are double 'r').

2. a. In Tulu "Ha" is not there. Even in Italian "Ha" is not there (Florentine dialect uses “Ha” for almost all words like Tuluvas of east [Mudai, e.g.: “Hodame (todame), haanted (daanted), harta (sarta), pole”!]. But in Latin 'Ha' was there, but it is difficult to make out today, how it was pronounced!

b. In Tulu "Maha Prana" is not there, like Italian.

c. Tulu's special 'e' vowel of "Appe" (Mother) is not found in any other Dravidian (at least in Kannada) language. But even if it is not treated as a special vowel, it is pronounced by Italians same as we Tuluvas.

3. "Gna" of Tulu (as in 'Bognya' (= ash;), 'Kignya' (= small) is pronounced by Italians exactly as we do.

4. A large number of full or partial sound-meaning (i.e., lexical) resemblances, particularly in core (or basic) vocabulary:
Adagiare (set down carefully) = Jaavare (Tulu)
Aglio( garlic) = Ugli / Ulli / Bellulli (Tulu)
Altana (covered roof) = Atta (Tulu)
Appena (just) = Apaane (Tulu)
Assaggiare(to taste0 = Saggi (+tuvare....Tulu)
Avere (to have) = Avare (Tulu)
Bastone (stick) = BaDu (Tulu)
Battere (to beat) = Bottare (Tulu)
Bianco (White) = Boldu /Bolle(Tulu)
Boario (ox) = Bori(Tulu)
Buio (dark) = Baia/ Kattale (Tulu)
Calcio (kAlchio=foot ball) = Kalchendu (Kannada) (note, in Italian ca = ka, cu = ku, co = ko)
Camaleonte (chameleon) = Onti (Tulu)
Cavare (to draw out) = Kalevare (Tulu)
Chiedere (to ask ) = Kenare (Tulu) (chi = ki)
Collina (hill) = Kunja (e.g. haDankoli?)
Collo (neck) = Kekkil(Tulu)
Colpire (to hit) = Kolpare (Tulu)
Colpo (Blow) = Kolpu (Berit Colpu.... Tulu)
Corno (horn) = Kombu (Tulu)
Covare (to hatch) = Kavu (+Koriare.... Tulu)
Cucchiaio (spoon) = Kail /Takkana (Tulu)
Cucciolo (Puppy) = Kukru (Tulu)/Kurle (young one of pig…..Tulu)
Culo (buttock) = Kullige (Tulu)
Essere (to be) = Ippare (Tulu)
Farfalla (Butterfly) = Paante(Tulu)
Ferita (injury) = Pett (Tulu)
Fianco (hip) = Pinkan (Tulu)
Fila (Que) = Sal (Tulu)
Fiori (flower) = Pu / Pingara
Foderare (to cover) = Podepare (Tulu)
Fottere (to have sex) = PoTare (Tulu)
Fumo (smoke) = Puge (Tulu)
Fungo (Fungus) = Purngu (Tulu)
Fuori (out) = Pidai (Tulu)
Gatto (cat, male) = Gante (Tulu)
Giacente (lying) = Jessonare (tulu) (Gia = jia)
Giallo (Yellow) = Mangiol / Mangiall (Tulu)
Giovane (young) = Javane /Javaner (Tulu)
Girare (to turn) = Girare (Tulu)
Gufo (Owl) = Gumme(Tulu)
Mannaia (Chopper) = Madu (Tulu)
Marrone (Brown) = Mairre (of ox, tulu)
Montare (to climb) = Mitaavare (Tulu)
Muso (Ugly face) = MusunTu (Tulu)
Nuocere (to harm) = Nuocere (Tulu)
Nuotare (to swim) = Nindare (Tulu)
Orlo (edge) = Aru (Tulu)
Ottima (excellent) = Uttima (Tulu)
Foglia (leaf) = Paale (of kang/Pullu of page.....Tulu)
Paglia (straw) = Pagir (Tulu)
Palla (Ball) = Palle (old tulu, something spherical)
Pari (equal, same) = Pari (pari paDunu - Tulu)
Parte (part, share) = Pal (Tulu)
Partita (match, game) = Parte (of cock fight - Tulu)
Paura (fear) = Podige (Tulu)
Pendere (to hang from) = Pandare (Tulu)
Piedi (feet) = Pada (Tulu)
Pungo (fist) = Pundi (Tulu)
Riti (practice, custom, tradition) = riti (rivaaj…) (Tulu)
Scure (axe) = KuDaari (Tulu)
Segare (to saw) = Sigipare (Tulu)
Spalla (shoulder) = Puggel (Tulu)
Strada (way) = Saadi (Tulu)
Tamburo (drum) = Tembare (Tulu)
Tana (lair , den) = Taanya (Tulu)
Tardi (late) = TaDa (Tulu)
Telaio (loom) = (of Taaglia?)
Testa (head) = Tare (Tulu)
Toccare (to touch) = Tagare (Tulu)
Tonda(round) = Tonde (Tulu)
Torcia (Torch) = tUTe (Tulu)
Tubo (pipe / canal) = Tumbu (Tulu)
Unghia (nail) = Uguru (Tulu)
Urlare (to scream) = Ural (padare....tulu)
Veste (garment / clothes) = VEsTi (Tulu)
Vetta (top/summit) = beTTa (kannada)
Villa (villa) = Ill (Tulu)
Zappare (to hoe) = Dappare (Tulu)

Tueor (Latin - to watch) = Tuvare (Tulu)
Nir (Greek - water) = Neer (Tulu)
Anar (Greek - male) = An (Tulu)

5. Places:

Adige = Addinge
Angiari (read as Anjiari) = Anjaar
Calascibetta = KaLasa
Campagna = Kampaan
Catanzaro = Katalsar/Kananjaar
Enna = Inna
Nogara = Nagara
Palermo = Palemaar
Pompie = Pompe (near Kapu)
Puglia = Polya
Tibero = Tiber
Toscana = Todicana

6. Italian Gerundio (Gerund) is formed by -ondo/-indo/-endo to the stem of first , second and third conjugation infinitives, respectively. Also in Tulu there is Gerund, formed by -ondu.
e.g. Leggendo (by reading) = Odondu
Andando (by going) = Povondu

7. Italian verb "Dovere" means "to have to" or "must" is same as tulu's "Du".e.g.: Devi andare (you must go) = PovoDu.

8. Past tense ends with 't'
Fatto (I did) = Malte (tulu); Dato (I gave) = Korte (tulu); Venuto (I came) = Batte (tulu)

9.a. Wrist is called "MaNi-ganT" in tulu. Small handy bell is called “manNi-ganTte”. Whether maani (hands) word is from Italian?
b. The red stone used to construct the wall is called "Mura-Kal" in Tulu. "Muro" means wall in Italian!
c. In Italian sea is called "mare", "calare" means to go down. Therefore "cala" means one who goes down. In total ‘mare + cala = maracala = fisher man’ in Tulu! May be this word is of Italian origin.
d. The room on the west side (generally) of kitchen is called "Pada-sale". In Italian "Sala" means room!
e. "Adombrare" means to make shade. Our tulu "dompa" is meant for that!
f. Birba (scamp) some what sounds like "Bira" of tulu. Children's mischief is called "Bira" in tulu.
g. One who always argue is called "arrogante" in Italian. In tulu is called "arganTe"!
h. "Colpu" (read as Kolpu) in tulu has got 2 meanings: (i) to touch (ii) muscle catch. Even in Italian!
i. In old Italian money was called "cassa", our cas (kas).
j. "Funerale" (Funeral) is some thing to do with tulu "Puna" i.e., dead body, is not it?
k. "Canestra" (basket, read as Kanestra) and tulu "Kanna" (e.g. Kannadi pudai) are of same origin or not?
l. Childrens are called "jokulu" in tulu. They always wish to play. May be this act of children is reffered as "Giocare" (jokaare = to play) in Italian!
m. If we speak (or laugh) loudly our elders warn us not to "Kekkerare". In Italian 'to chat ', 'to gossip'; 'rembling talk' is called "Chiacchierare" read as kiakierare.
n. Latrin is called "kakkasu" in Kannada. "Cacca" (read as Kakka) means 'shit' in Italian. Our 'kakkasu' of Kannada is nothing but place for......
o. Giù (jU) is down in Italian. Jappare, japuDaavare etc are the acts of going “down” in tulu. Mit is up in tulu, so mitAvare is going up (climb). Tirt is down, but going down is not tirtaavare, but jappare.

Contributed by Narayana T. Shetty,Italy


  1. Congratulations Narayan! It is a fine observation of similarity between Tulu and Italian languages.The analogy may not be just coincidence.The fact may be that both Tulu and Italian originated from a common original source/precursor language.Similarly reconstructed Sumerian and some of the African languages contain many ancient words that are found in present Tulu and other Dravidian languages.Models of Migration of early tribes/people from African continent ably explains this phenomenon.

  2. Makran (Urdu/Persian: ?????) is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The Persian phrase Mahi khoran, fish-eaters (Mahi = fish + khor = eat) is believed to be the origin of the modern word Makran.[1]

    The narrow coastal plain rises very rapidly into several mountain ranges. Of the 1,000 km coastline, about 750 km is in Pakistan. The climate is very dry with very little rainfall. Makran is very sparsely inhabited, with much of the population being concentrated in a string of small ports including Chabahar, Gwatar, Jiwani, Gwadar (not to be confused with Gwatar), Pasni, Ormara and many smaller fishing villages.
    source :wikipedia
    i am from tulu speaking udupi fisherman family, i had the opportunity to meet italian people and Tamil people. Interestingly i am able to control or speak better in Tamil than Italian.
    g Bangera

  3. Solomon Flavius -Toronto-14 AUG.09

    That was rather interesting to know the commoness and connection between Tulu and Italian.

    Thank u Mr N T Shetty for your deep study into these two languages and for sharing this with the rest of the world.

  4. i visited your site n was good enough then othere site that i visited last month

    work and study


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 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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