Saturday, July 25, 2015

I Know More About My Mother Tongue, Tulu, Now, Which Is A Very Rare Language !


I read this post of a student of my friend, Usha Pisharody! She is a young girl but is capable of expressing herself so accurately.  Here, it is!

I go through the same feelings when I hear people speaking in Tulu, which is just a colloquial language.  No script is there now.  It is all gone.  People write Tulu in Kannada script.  It is spoken by a few percentage of people in Mangalore, Southern part of Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada).  I am from Udupi, Mangalore and my family speaks in Tulu.  Even in my family many sons and daughters are married into Kannada speaking families and so only some of them speak Tulu.  Kannada has become the main language.  Tulu is dying very fast.  We have got a special sing song pattern, people say so! Tulu is also spoken in different accents in different towns of Mangalore itself! Kundapura people and Udupi people speak entirely different types of Tulu! Brahmins speak a separate Tulu.

I remember seeing a book in Tulu.  But I don't remember how the script looked like.  My grand father was running a printing press and he had a few books in Tulu.

Suddenly I thought of looking for it in the net...God, this post has introduced me to the nuances of my own language! Wikipedia says:

Separated early from Proto-South Dravidian, Tulu has several features not found in Tamil-Kannada. For example, it has the pluperfect and the future perfect, like French or Spanish, but formed without an auxiliary verb. 

The above link says that Tulu works are available! Great! I have to look for it!

Mangaloreans are making Tulu movies.  Street theatre is famous in Tulu language.  Light music and folk songs with Tulu lyrics are there.  Tulu people are famous for their sense of humour, I am told! I am not one, sadly! And, the Yakshagana in Tulu is very famous! I remember watching them on the streets from midnight till early morning. The wiki link has got interesting details of this dance/song form.

The Tulu speaking coastal Karnataka area was called Tulu naadu during the Krishna Deva Raya rule.

 Another interesting anecdote about Tulu in Wiki:

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.

I am becoming more familiar with my own language now!

Tuluvas (as Tulu speaking people are called) have a saying: "Oorudu nanji aanda paardh 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.

Many people from my family have migrated to many places esp. to Madras (Chennai), like us.  Our town, Udupi is famous for hotels.  Udupi hotels are spread all over the world.  My family came here to Chennai in 1962.  Father was a Hotelier. We studied here, so our colloquial Tulu has got Tamil influence. Another branch has gone to Trivandrum and their Tulu is with Malayalam accent!

Well... this post has introduced myself to my language! I speak Tamil at home, since my husband is a Tamilian.  My sons know a bit of Tulu to speak (I should have taught them...they had been asking me to!), but understand it very well.   I get the opportunity to speak Tulu with my side of the family members.  Maybe I was nostalgic while writing this post.

I forgot to write this: Aishwarya Rai, Shilpa Shetty, Sonali Bendre, Sunil Shetty....oh there are many Tulu speaking people in Bollywood!



SG said...

Thanks for the nice post on the lovely Tulu language. Now I know a little more.

I always thought Tamil is the source and mother to all Dravidian languages, including Telugu, Kannada, and Tulu, besides Malayalam. I remember a Bharathiyar song "kannadamum, kalitelungum, kavin malayalamum, thuluvum unuthirathu uthitu inge……….”.

Sandhya said...

SG: Thanks a lot, SG! I am familiar with Bharatiyar songs but only after you noticed and mentioned here, realization came to me! After I decided about writing about my mother tongue, I read the wiki link and knew more about the language. My grand father had published books in Tulu and I remember my mother telling me that he got them from palm leaves' writings. He got Purandara Dasa songs also likewise, I was told. I got so much knowledge about my language while collecting material for writing about it now.

Thank you once again!

Usha Pisharody said...

I love how connection are made across a range of things... a sharing of a blog, a word here there somewhere :)
This is a lovely lingering nostalgic post, Sandhya. I myself have lived in Mangalore for almost 2 years, during which my elder son picked up a smattering of Tulu, from our neighbours. The only word I remember now is "badakku'... meaning to spoil something?
Anyways, thank you for the link, and the story of self discovery :)

Destination Infinity said...

I want to visit Mangalore and Udupi someday. I think all South Indian languages have a common link. Maybe they started from the same source and then branched off, or they borrowed heavily from neighbors and Sanskrit.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

USHA PISHARODY: Your student's post triggered me to write this! Whatever she had written is very true.

Like all the other languages have different ways of speaking the same language which represent the territory, Tulu also has got variations. We say 'Batlu' for lunch plates, my relative who is from a different town call it 'kangana'! Tamils also has got different flavours in different states, like Coimbatore Tamil, Madurai Tamil, Nagercoil Tamil etc. Ours is a unique country! Hahaha...I don't know what 'badakku' means!

Thank you, Usha!

DESTINATION INFINITY: Tulu has got influence of Sanskrit (in some towns!), Tamil too! But no outsider understands our language because of the singsong way of speaking! Only Tamil hasn't got the influence of Sanskrit in our country, I is a unique language!

Shail Mohan said...

Every language has got variations within the state itself. Malayalam is spoken differently in each of the districts.
My father speaks Tulu and I have had occasion to mix with people speaking your language. :)
I liked the fact that you learnt more about your language through writing this post. So many benefits to blogging, isn't it? :)

Sandhya said...

SHAIL MOHAN: Yes, I agree, we come to know about so many things about which we never bothered. First Tulu language article which was printed by the Germans here, was Bible! I think the same was in Tamil also! Useful for it good or bad?! When I searched for Tulu letters, I found them which resembled a lot like Malayalam letters! I must ask my relatives about it. My mother was good at these things. I must go 'up' to ask her!

Jeevan said...

I remember hearing the language Tulu early, but it’s very interesting tracing its history and learning more about it here. I think every region has its own language closely associate with other or like DI said, it branched off from one main source of language.

Sandhya said...

JEEVAN: Many of our languages derived from Sanskrit except Tamil. Every language has got its own flavour. I am afraid that most of our language will face the fate of Tulu....influence of English!

Rama Ananth said...

Nice to know so much about your language through your blog. It is sad we are fast moving to English more and more. So many countries still speak only in their mother tongue, and have been managing like that only. We feel we must move fast, move forward in life, but we haven't, whereas, others have left us far behind despite not knowing a word of English.

Sandhya said...

RAMA ANANTH: You are right, Rama! But it is too late now! Well, except losing our precious languages, our youngsters are going places, because of the proficiency in English. Our country doesn't support brainy people unlike other countries.

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