Published November 14, 2019
This video was recorded by Ashay Badikana in Karnataka, India. Tulu is spoken by the Tulu people of Karnataka and the Kasaragod district of India, who have traditionally inhabited the Tulunadu region. The tribal histories and cultural development of the Tulu are described by their traditional songs and epic poems, The Tuluva Paddanas, part of an important body of oral literature. The Tulu are often conflated with Kannadans in census data, and as a Dravidian language Tulu bears some resemblance to Tamil-Kannada. However, due to Tulu's early split from the Dravidic branch (it is thought to be among the first living languages to have deviated from Proto-Dravidian, thus retaining many features of the proto form), there are several distinctions between Tulu and Tamil-Kannada. Tulu has been written in multiple scripts since the period in which its first inscriptions were recorded during the 14th and 15th centuries, including the Tigalari alphabetic script and its current written form, the Kannada script. There are four dialects of Tulu: Common Tulu, Brahmin Tulu, Jain, and Girijan. Although Tulu is not recognized as an official language in any country, speakers are lobbying for its inclusion in the 8th schedule of India's constitution, and more broadly for local and international support. Tulu is spoken by around 1.7 million people. It belongs to the southern branch of the Dravidian language family.