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Home Food for Thought General Topics Tulu, the ancient language of Mangalore

Tulu, the ancient language of Mangalore

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Tulu as a language continues to thrive in coastal Karnataka and Kasargod in Kerala. It has mainly survived due to the love of the Tuluvas towards their language. Tulu Sahitya Academy has introduce Tulu as a language in schools around coastal Karnataka namely Alva's High School, Moodbidri; Dattanjaneya High School, Odiyoor; Ramakunjeshwara English-medium High School, Ramakunja; and Vani Composite Pre-University College, Belthangady. It is planning to add more schools awaiting government permission. Tulu is also taught as a language in postgraduate level in Mangalore University and also there is a dedicated department for Tulu studies and research at Dravidian University in Kuppam Andhra Pradesh.

The Govinda Pai Research Centre at MGM College, Udupi started an 18-year Tulu lexicon project in the year 1979.[citation needed] 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.

Malayalam Script Resemblance

The Tulu script and the Malayalam script partially resemble each other. The Tulu script does not have a few letters that the Malayalam script has, but it is more similar to the Malayalam script than the Tamil script is, in the sense that, unlike Tamil, both scripts have a separate letter for each varga consonant. One source states that there was a variant of the Grantha script called the Tulu-Malayalam script, dating from the 8th or 9th century,[2] possibly from which both the Tulu script and the Malayalam script evolved. Some others believe that the Tulu script is older and the Malayalam script evolved from it or was influenced by it,[3][4] though the oldest written Tulu document available, Tulu Mahabharato (Tulu: ತುಳು ಮಹಾಭಾರತ, Tuḷu Mahābhārata), is from around 1500 CE,[1] relatively new compared to the history of the Malayalam writing system, which dates back to 10th century CE.[5]

tulu

 

Decline

There are various reasons for the decline of the Tulu script. Linguistically, Tulu was a minority language in the erstwhile Madras Presidency under the British. As such, it was never given due attention by the rulers. Secondly, the establishment of a printing press by German missionaries, who used Kannada script instead of Tulu, led to further decrease in use of the original Tulu script.

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