Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chapter1: The Language- Part III

Language Groups in the World
1.50. There are about 3000 principal languages and numerous subordinate dialects in the world. There is no rule that one country shall have only one language. Many of the countries in the world have several languages. There are thousands of languages in the American continent alone. In India, the existence of 50 to 60 main languages and sub-languages is often considered a setback in political circles. It is no wonder that a continent of India’s size should have so many languages. Still most of these languages belong to few language groups.

1.51. There are about 132 languages in the Indo-European Group. About half of the world’s population speaks these languages. English is one of the principal languages in the Group. The English originated in England but worldwide as a common language of communication. There is an expansive and inexhaustible collection of literature in English. Major languages of India like Hindi, Hindustani, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarathi, Marathi, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Bihari and South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam have evolved independent scripts while Tulu, Kodava and Gonda etc language have to depend on other languages for the script.
Generally the languages of the North India are related to Sanskrit while the language of the south India are considered to be interrelated and part of the Dravidian Group.

1.52. Next to the Indo-European, Austro-Asiatic and Sino-Tibetan are major language groups spread in the region. In northern Europe Finno-Ugric or Ural languages and in the west mid-Asia Turkey-Mongolian or Altaic languages prevail. In the African continent, several languages exist but India is in contact with Egypt and northern Africa since ages. In northern Africa Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and other countries belong to Semitic Group of languages. West coast of India is in contact with Arabian countries since historical days especially for commerce. We shall look into some of the languages connected with the study of Tulu language.
(a) Indo-European languages: can be divided into four subgroups namely (1) Sanskrit-Iranian (2)Iranian –Slavic (3)Greek-Italic and (4) Germanic-Romance.
Sanskrit-Iranian includes Sanskrit, proto-Sanskrit and Sanskrit related languages like Nepali,Kashmiri,Hindi,Urdu,Gujarathi,Marathi,Sindhi,Punjabi,Oria,Bengali,Assami,Turkey,Baluchi, Afghan and Kurdish languages. Iranian –Slavic languages include Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Bylo-russian, Ukranian, Polish, Czech, Slavak etc.
Greek-Italic includes proto-Greece, modern Greek, Baltic, Lithuanian, Albanian, Indo-hitite, Latin, Oscon,Venetic etc.
Germanic-Roman languages includes German, Gothic, Dutch, Scandinavian, Keltic, Anglo-Saxon, modern English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, modern Italian, Romanian etc.
(b).Dravidian languages: Include Proto-Dravidian, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Tulu, Kodava, Gondi, Malto, Brahui etc.
(c).Austro-Asiatic languages: Munda languages of India (Chotanagapur and Himachal Pradesh)
(d) Sino-Tibetan: Also known as Indo-Chinese languages) include Chinese and Tibetan languages.
(e) Semitic languages: Include Arabic, Akkadian, Amharic, Tigrinya Hebrew, Maltese, etc.
(f) Finno-Uralic languages: include Finnish and Uralic languages.. Dr Caldwell showed that Ural languages were related to Dravidian languages.
(g)Turkey-Mongolian: Turkey and Mongolian languages.

1.53 Languages are related to social contacts rather than to races. In the words of Max Muller “Linguistics is the test of social contact and not of racial kinship. Any attempt at squiring the classification of races and tongues must necessarily fail.”
Another point of importance is that a language may be spoken by several communities originated from diverse racial groups. Even though there may be differences in pronunciation or accents of different people speaking a language it is considered variations of a single language. For example, in Tulu language has been divided into a Brahmin Tulu and Shudra Tulu. This is not a good development. A language is basically guided by its grammar and naturally shall have dialectical variations depending upon the composition of its speaking community, but it is not advisable to divide the languages along communal lines.

1.54 Based on the grammar, linguists have classified languages into five groups:
1) Isolative
2) Agglutinative
3) Inflectional
4) Polysynthetic
5) Incorporative.

Isolative language is exemplified by Chinese. Words may have different meanings, depending on the position of the words in the sentences. Verbs usually are placed in between the noun and the predicate.
Agglutinative refers to Dravidian languages like Tulu, where the words are formed by the joining together of morphemes. Altaic, Tibeto-Burman, Bantu and Basque etc also are agglutinative languages.
Inflectional include Indo-European, Romance (Spanish, Italian, French and Romanian) and Basque languages .For example the word structure of ‘asmi’ (Sanskrit ) can be compared with that of ‘im’(Gothic).
Polysynthetic represents the language where words give elaborate meanings that need longer sentences in other languages to convey the same.
Incorporative represents languages where several word join mix in such away to change in meaning that word analyses becomes difficult.

1.55 In the context of Tulu language study of agglutinative (Dravidian) and inflectional languages (Sanskrit) are pertinent. In Tulu the four words namely:
Raame kadthe kudari mara
can be assembled into a sentence using appropriate morpheme such as
Rame kudariD’d maron kadthe.
This is an example of agglutinative Dravidian style of grammar, wherein the meaningful morphemes join without alteration onto the words. It is easier to identify the morphemes or cases and also the essential meaning of the sentence.
In inflectional languages, the morphemes diminish into a low or unidentifiable state. In the Sanskrit, ‘RaameNa’ the meaning of ‘eNa’ is not distinct.
Incorporative language are one step ahead in that assembly of words merge in such a way their original form is almost undecipherable. Sweet opined that “… if inflection is agglutinative run mad, incorporative is inflection run madder still.”.
Thus, in this regard it can be stated that Dravidian grammatic rules are clean and distinct.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chapter1. The Language –( part II )

…. (Continued from the previous post) …

Philology: Origin and Applications
1.30 In ancient Greece great philosophers, apart from science and literature, also studied several aspects of the language. Herodotus (5thCentury BCE) has described the story of an ancient Egypt King, who allowed two kids to roam freely in a garden to study how they learnt the language. The first word these kids learnt was related to the food.
Greek philosopher Plato (427-327 BCE) studied the relationship between the objects and their names. Consequently, two schools of thoughts were formed: Analogists believed that the language is natural and words are related to the nature of the objects in question. And ananalogists asserted that the structure of the language is inconsistent. Studies by analogists led to the development of etymology or the study of origin of words. Yet the analogists were unable to explain the logic behind origin of many of the words. For example ‘lithos’ came from ‘lian theein’ which means ‘to run too much’ .Even though it is true that rocks get eroded away, the basic character of rocks such as hardness and stability are not reflected in the root meaning.
1.31 Subsequently, Latin became the main language of the Roman Empire. In the later centuries, regional European languages like Italian, .French, German and Spanish developed. English language also developed as a consequence of contact with German. Even though the study of grammar was in vogue at that time, the philology came into being after the study of Sanskrit by westerners. At that time, languages were considered widely as the creation of God. Even the Bible conveyed that opinion. In India, people believed that Sanskrit was created by God. Sanskrit was considered a divine language and it was kept out of reach of the shudras and women. Bhatta Kalanka (17th Century AD) declared that Sanskrit was divine. He tried to explain the differences among Sanskrit, Prakrit and Dravidian languages as variations in the quality of water in different terrains in spite of being derived from the same rain.
India was steeped in religious bigotry in the early historical days preventing growth of true scientific temper, but Panini’s (ca.520 BC) classic work on Sanskrit grammar was exceptionally meritorious that kindled the growth of systematic grammars in the European languages.
1.32 William Joans (1746-1794) was the first to envisage that Sanskrit, Latin and Greek were evolved from a single language of early historical period. Joans served as an advocate in the British India for eleven years. During the fag end of his lifetime he studied Sanskrit that led to the exposition of common heritage of the Indo-European languages. For example note for the English words mother, two, three and he is: the Sanskrit equivalents words are: matru, dwa, thraya and asthi. Because of such similarities, Sanskrit was considered a part of the family of Indo-European languages.

1.33 With exposition of knowledge, the myth of divine creation of languages was eventually obliterated. Esperance observed that “the very imperfections and changeability of language speak against the divine origin. Language as gradually developed must be the work of man himself and therein as difference from the immutable cries and songs of lower animals”.
1.34 During 1866, in Paris La Societe de Linguistique and proposition of four theories on the origin of languages.
(a) Bow-vow theory: According to this theory, some of the words like that of bird names are derived from the way they make sound. Thus, the bird that cries kaw- kaw became ‘kaka’ in Sanskrit. That crows (rough imitative sound) became ‘crow’ in English. Or that cries karr- karr became ‘karke’ and further > ‘kakke’ in Tulu and so on. Similarly, the Sanskrit bird name kuyil or kokila (=koel) were derived. The word ‘ghanta’(=bell) was derived from the sound (ghan- ghan) it makes.
(b) Pooh-pooh theory: Exclamations uttered by people out of pain, anguish, surprise etc or as a simple expression of greeting people. This includes words like Oh, Ah, Wah, Hey, Sh, Hai, Hello etc.
(c) Ding-dong theory: Every material has its own inherent sound and the language or words were expressed in response to these sounds. This theory was favoured by Max Mueller.
(d) Yo-hoho theory: This includes the sounds people make while carrying out labour intensive jobs, such as pulling weights.
In spite of the impressive list above, these theories have not contributed significantly to the study of languages.
1.35 Esperance stressed the importance of sound in language as follows: “We may perhaps draw conclusion that primitive languages in general was rich in all kinds of different sounds-tone plays an important part in many primitive languages-we must imagine primitive language consisting of different sounds and sung rather than spoken”.
1.36 Following the study of Sanskrit grammar compiled by Panini, western scholars realized its virtues. In the words of Leonard Bloomfield, it is a great development of human intellect. The fine details structure of the language and rules of grammar expounded in Panini’s grammar are unparallel in the history and it in turn laid foundation for the growth and development of modern philology and linguistics.
In the opinion of Max Mueller, a comparative philologist without the knowledge of Sanskrit is like an astronomer without the knowledge of mathematics. Yet, the Sanskrit was considered a dead language at that time. For example Ellis expressed that: “Almost in our own days came the discovery of Sanskrit and philology proper began but alas at the wrong end. For the pure science of language, to begin with Sanskrit was as much beginning at the wrong end, as it would have been to commence Zoology with paleontology- the relations of life with the bones of the dead.”
Thus the philologists paid their attention to the study of living languages such as the Dravidian. Rt Rev. Dr.R.Caldwell (1956) conducted an extensive study of the grammar of South Indian Dravidian languages. Dr. Kittel compiled an excellent dictionary of Kannada. Rev.J. Brigel compiled the first published grammar of Tulu language. Kittel and Brigel conducted and published their studies from Mangalore, the heart of Tulunad. Philology was not a subject at that time in Indian Universities. Yet these works have remained prized early references for any study of Kannada and Tulu languages.

1.40 Language of the People
Language is pronunciation according to Whitney. In any language the important aspect is its sound. The sound pronounced travels to listeners ear, becomes audible so that it is understood by him. When the language is in written form, the reader grasps the pronunciation by himself and understands the meaning. Thus the pros and cons of the language lie in its pronunciation. According to A. Mario, “Language is an expression of human activity and as human activity is forever changing, language changes with it.” Thus languages grow along with people and according to their activities and preferences. The prosperity or destitution of the society influences the language also. Thus languages grow naturally along with the society and wipe out if the society is obliterated. Pali was a prominent spoken language that subsequently was adapted to written form in the ancient India especially when Buddhism took birth and flourished. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the Pali language was disused and presently even to study the structure of that language one has to travel to neighbouring countries like Srilanka, Myanmar, Indonesia or other countries to borrow Pali texts that traveled abroad along with Buddhist missionaries.

1.41 The language is a part of our behaviour. For example Tulu people have their own characteristic looks, body shapes, mannerisms, dress codes, costumes and general life styles. Tulu language has molded itself over the years in tune with the evolution of cultural characteristics of the Tulu people.

1.42 The main motive of the language is to convey the intended feeling of the person expressing. In turn the reader or the listener should be able to understand the expression using the same language. The precision of expression counts in this transaction. The language can be made to convey the precise meanings by imparting proper training to the people.

1.43 For a newborn child mere crying out is the initial language. Mother tries to understand that the crying child is hungry and makes necessary arrangements to feed it. The child stops crying after it is fed. Subsequently the child learns to yell “amma” by imitating other people in the surrounding environment. This kind of learning by imitation is common to human beings as well as to monkeys. Yet learning a language properly requires detailed training. By the fourth year, the child gets adequate training in pronouncing and understanding the essential words in use in his mother tongue.
Learning a language other than the mother tongue is usually perceived as a difficult task than learning the mother tongue. However, Whitney opined that: “in all other respects, the learning of a second language is precisely the same process as the learning of ones own mother tongue”. To master any language individual initiative, sustained interest and dedication are essential. In this way, Tulu speakers can learn Kannada, Hindi, Sanskrit, English etc with adequate training. Educational institutions with trained teachers are equipped to impart systematic training to the students of the languages.

1.44 A new language can be born only out of necessity and involvement of the community of people. Further, the degree of refinement a language can attain depends on the earnestness of the people who can ably communicate in that language.

1.45 Creating a new language from the scratches is a daunting task and may entail unwarranted hardships on the people involved. Some brave people have tried such experiments in the past by introducing newer styles and usages in the existing languages. Such artificial languages have died out in infancy for want of people who can effectively communicate in them.
1.46 Growth and popularity of a language like Tulu is governed by internal and external factors. Internal factors include simplification of words as seen in Tulu dialectic usage. In spoken Tulu, Narayana has become ‘NaaNi, Nanne, Naane’ etc. Lakshminarayana has come to be called as ‘EcchaNNe’ etc.
The word ‘mudel’ in Tulu stands for the basal or root portion of the plants However, the word acquired the meaning of ‘the initiation’ or ‘beginning’ in general usage. Similarly, some of the words like ‘mast’ (=plenty), borrowed from Urdu language, during the reign of Hyderali and Tipu Sultan are commonly used in Tulu. Simplicity of such words have appealed to people and made them use frequently in their routine life.

1.47 External factors for growth of the language like Tulu are (a) geographical, (b) administrative and (c) political.
Geographic boundaries can often delimit the growth and spread of a language. The ‘Kavi raja marga’, the tenth century AD text, describes Kannada as bound between the Rivers Kaveri and Godavari. Similarly Tulunad has been considered between the rivers flowing near Kallianpur in the north and Kasargod in the south, based on the current spread of the Tulu language.
1.48 Administrative reasons include historical factors. Tulunad was ruled by Alupa kings (or chieftains) approximately from the beginning of the Christian era for nearly 1200 years based on two city state capitals designated ‘Mangalur and Barkur rajyas’ (=kingdoms). Mostly these chieftains were subordinates of Kannada kings, and have not shown evident interest in developing the Tulu language. Inscriptions were also written in Old Kannada which was popular administrative language at that time.
Apparently, Tulu was being written in Tulu script by the Vedic-educated Tulu Brahmins on palmyra leaves during the latter part of the Alupa rule. This is evident by the now established fact subsequently Tiruvanthapura (formerly known as Travancore state) King introduced and developed the Malayalam script based on the then existing Tulu script that was being used fro writing by the Tulu scholars visiting Kerala for agama studies.(Tr.)
With the ascent of Kingdom of Vijayanagara at Hampi, in thirteenth century AD, these Mangalur and Barkur Rajyas became its coastal provinces. Kannada was the dominant administrative language during Vijayanagar period. Vijayanagar King Krishnadevaraya was said to be from Tulu family (Tuluva dynasty). But apparently he gave no support from the growth and development of Tulu language. Kannada continued to dominate during subsequent transfer of power of coastal regions to Keladi Kings.
Subsequent period of domination of Hyderali and Tipu Sultan of Srirangapatna over Tulunad introduced many Urdu words into Tulu language.
1.48 Political factors refer to confusions perpetrated during the post-independence reorganization of Indian States in the year 1956. Kasargod, a region dominated by Tulu and Kannada speakers, was broken from Tulunad and amalgamated with Kerala. The famous Tulu proponent of Yakshagana during 18th century AD, Parthisubba, the poet and composer, was hailing from the Kasargod area.
Words of Whitney appear significant as far as the growth and sustenance of Tulu language and culture in the present political setup: “A stone has lain motionless for ages on the verge of a precipice, and may lie there for ages longer, all the cosmic forces of gravity will not stir it. But a chance thrust from some passing animal jostles it from its equillibrium and it goes crushing down. Just so, in language the great and wonderful power of human soul would never move in this particular direction, but for the added push given by the desire of communication, when this leads the way all the rest follows.”

(To be continued.)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Chapter1: The Language I

1.10 The words bhaashe (<bhaash) and paatero (<paater) have been formed from the roots bhaash and paater′ that mean ‘to talk’. Human evolution has progressed through the expression of ideas by way the language. Communication of ideas among a set of people can be achieved using a language. People in an area expressing their feelings in specific style, consisting of ample set of words and sentences, can be defined as their language. There are numerous languages in the world. The discovery of languages has served an important role in the evolution of human history. Charles Darwin has expressed that nothing is as wonderful as or greater than the discovery of languages.

Early humans expressed their varied feelings like desire, affection, joy, despair, fear gratitude, plea etc., mutually through the utterances making use of mouth, throat and tongue in such a way that is properly heard and understood by the listener. With increased human interactions and contacts and the growth of civilization, the languages have also grown and evolved expansively. However the significance of the language in our routine life has become so casual and implicit like the routine respiration taking place in our lungs of which we are usually unmindful in our journeys in the society.

1.11 Human life is similar to that of other animals in the physical sense, with the basic exception of ability to express through the language. Several creatures live as well organized communities carrying out wonderful deeds. Like bees and ants, for example, that gathers food, build nests, bring up offspring as an organized community, and communicate through signals. These kinds of signals are the initial forms of the language.

Human beings endowed with vocal chords are able to communicate these signals through sound and spoken language. This vocal power or the ability to speak is a natural faculty to the human beings. The vocal faculty enabled him to imitate the melodious tunes of the bird koel, and this in the long run led him to evolve and compose systematic musical notes. Similarly he was able to arrange spoke words in such a way that the listener is able to comprehend the exact meaning of his utterances. In this way, languages evolved by developing systematic structures or methods for arranging words in specific patterns in the form of sentences so as express the innate feelings. Understanding and analyzing these structures and methods of the language is the realm of the grammarians. In other words, consequent upon the origin and development of the language, its structure and usage grammar books came into being. In some languages, on account of rapid development of literature and poetry some of the usages went beyond the control of the grammarians and it was necessary for the grammarian to cite exceptions to his rules. Nevertheless, the languages developed and refined persistently in oral forms and the grammars stood mute testimonial to the prior status and form of the language once upon a time. For example, in English language, grammars have been published periodically. Yet, the rules of the grammar were meant simply for the purpose of lame studies for students without yielding any mastery of the language. One of the negative aspects of these traditional grammar books is that rules and exceptions are clubbed together, leading to total confusion when enforced upon the students. The teachers were unable to answer as to why the rules are like that. It was subsequently realized that this sort of imposition of grammar on students is a meaningless teaching method.

With study of Sanskrit language, western experts developed interest on the interesting and scientific grammar of Panini. The influence of such systematic grammars led to the growth of philology.


1.2 Philology is systematic study of the language. (Greek: philos = love, logus =language).Philology came into existence in the beginning of the last century and later it evolved into linguistics about thirty years later. The general linguistics has further ramified into analytical, acoustic, areal, comparative and cultural linguistics branches on one hand and experimental, evolutionary, structural and psychological linguistics on the other. The philology of a language also involves elements of sociology, psychology and anthropology and is useful for technologists and engineers.

1.21 Since Tulu language has limited literature (status as on 1980- Editors note) this work analyses and attempts to describe the structure of the Tulu language, using audiovisual comparisons as well as historical and cultural perspectives mainly within the ambit of ‘philology’ in general. The present Author preferred the term philology, to linguistics, especially because the philos (=love) in it, that represents ones love for his mother tongue. On the basis of foundation of Panini’s grammatic rules, subsequently several south Indian languages like Kannada and Telugu developed analyses of grammatic rules for their languages. Kesiraja’s ‘Shabdamani Darpana’ is a fine example for historical grammars in regional languages.

In this work the class structural elements of Tulu grammar have been outlined. Besides, an effort has been made to compile as many verb roots as possible.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

PROLOGUE * by Budha Shivalli

Languages too have a story, like human beings have. The story to be retold here is that of TuLu language. Within the renowned State of Karnataka, in the southwest coastal corner, where the monsoon rains initiate, the land between the Malnad and the beach, and where the western sky displays the charms of sunset is the Tulunad, the land of Tulu speaking people, Tuluvas.

Many people have assumed that Tulu is a tribal dialect of Karnataka. Others presume that Tulu is not an independent language or a mixture of languages.

What is the truth? What is the relationship of Tulu and Kannada? Why Tulu words did not shine in literary horizons in the past? What is the similarity or differences among the Tulu and Dravida, Sanskrit and Sanskrit derived languages. Above all, does Tulu have a grammar of its own? If it has, is it suitable for literary developments? What is the history of Tulu? What is the relationship between the Tulu culture and the integral culture of India? Several such aspects shall be discussed in the forthcoming 19 chapters.

0.01 In the prologue a few words have to be explained as to how Tulu language written in Kannada script should be read and written. A writer is not supposed to dictate his readers to read in specific styles, nor is it my nature to do so. However, such an explanation is required in view of the specific style of pronunciation in the Tulu language.

0.02 Important differences between Kannada and Tulu are the pronunciation rule and the pattern of accent. Tulu inherited this accent from proto Dravida. However, it is unlike that of Malayalam, not even similar to that of Kannada or Tamil.

Some experts earlier believed erroneously that Tulu and Malayalam are one and the same languages. Tulu does not have the Malayalam style of accent. Malayalam is a true nasal language. The nasal pronunciation has become extinct in Tulu language during the course of its evolution. Similarities between Tulu and Malayalam in etymology and grammar are also limited.

Pronunciations in Tulu and Tamil are also different. Tulu is of Kannada type in some respects. However, Tulu has evolved as an independently among Dravidian languages of south India, in terms of pronunciation and accent.

0.03 Patero, the language or the utterances of the people constructs specific structures in the course of conveying meaning. Grammar does the job of describing the structural style of the language. The structural style or the grammar is the long perpetuating element of the language and it yields stable and consistent form to the language. A language exterminates if the grammar is obliterated. A language may borrow words or get influenced by other languages, but its grammatical structure remains stable and consistent. Tulu language has such a stable and consistent but relatively simple structure of grammar.

0.04 As we know, the consonant ending words abound in Tulu. In their earlier stages, even Kannada and Tamil had consonant-ending words that evolved into vowel- ending words during the course of the development of their literature. Even though the Tulu language remained dialectical, it maintained its grammatical structure and consistence throughout the course of the past history of more than two thousand years and lived successfully among the Tulu people, like other great and original languages. Therefore, Tulu language is useful for studying the early forms of the Dravidian languages in greater depth.

In Kannada grammatically all words become vowel-ending like: maaDi, noDi, hiDidu, baDidu, yarannu, avarige, nagisu, kuNisu etc. These same words in Tulu are respectively: malt’d, tood, patt’d, dart’d, yeren, areg, telipav, nalipav etc. These Tulu words have remained consonant ending unlike in Kannada. Even in English there are a large number of words that end with consonants, like: cat, rat, ran etc. Some English words, in spite of having vowels at their end, like come, house etc sound like consonant ending words.

0.05 An analysis of the present Kannada script, especially with respect to its consonants, may be made since we are generally employing the modern Kannada script for writing/printing Tulu nowadays. The table of Kannada alphabets shows consonants attached with vowels like for example k’+a=ka, g’+a=ga etc. (see figure). The alphabets k’, g’ etc are shown with an attachment of coiled spring like character to signify vowel-free consonants. Now, Tulu being a language rich with consonant-ending words, we are generally using this ‘coiled spring’ attached consonants numerous times.

If you give some little thought to the process of writing Tulu using Kannada alphabets, shall realize that an excess of coiled springs in writing is not only unnecessary but also slightly spoils the beauty of the script in some way. We can give up this coiled spring attachment in writing Tulu, to make it easier as well as faster. It is also possible to design Tulu fonts for printing in the similar way i.e., without coiled springs.

0.06 Tulu is a civilized language. Caldwell (1956) has opined that the culture shone in the land of Tulu language is not inferior to any of the best cultures in the world. Tulu is not a tribal language; it is spoken widely as mother tongue by different castes and creeds of the Tulunad, from the lowly Adi-dravida tribes to high caste Brahmins. People of Kasaragod, northern Kerala, also share this language with their Tulunad brethren.

This language carries reminiscences of regional relations and history of the past few thousands of years; peoples heroic deeds, systems, customs and rituals; sorrow and happiness. The traditionally evolved language is complementary to its history.

0.07 Why this rich language of Tulunad failed to become a textual literary language of Tulunad and what can be done to improve its status are to be pondered. In light of present status of Tulu literature the following facts are pertinent:

1. Lack of a proper popular script in the past hindered the growth of Tulu language in the past. This is being overcome by employing Kannada script for writing Tulu since several years. However, the problem of writing/printing consonant ending words has not been solved.

2. Comprehensive study of morphological structure and application of grammatic rules for general usage has not been done so far.

Also a few observations can be made regarding usage for the Tulu language in writing and publishing:

1. Excessive usage of –kuLu suffix in Tulu, possibly inspired from the Kannada –gaLu plural indicator suffix is not appropriate for the beauty of the Tulu language. In some cases, especially as human relation indicators,-kuLu suffix are used naturally in Tulu, like yaan> yenkuLu or yenkulu, ee>nikuLu, aye>akuLu, jovu>jokuLu etc.

But in the case of neuter nouns like mara, petto, etc –kulu suffix is not appropriate for Tulu, even if this is the general case with Kannada, like maragaLu ,hasugaLu etc.

In Tulu, instead of –kuLu suffix for neuter nouns, applying -lu suffix as plural indicator present already in Tulu, not only simplifies the natural language but also increases its charm. e.g., marolu, pettolu etc. This feature of -lu suffix for plurals is similar to Telugu. PanDulu (=fruits) , gurumulu (=horses) etc.

2. Application of cases (vibhakti pratyaya) may be slightly confusing in Tulu. In Dravidian languages, apparently there are no suffixes for the nominative case, the prathama vibhakti. It is possible that this suffix is a phoneme. For example mara, petta etc in spoken Tulu characteristically acquire u and becomes mara+u=maro, petta+u=petto etc.

In old Kannada, the –am suffix as in maram, hasum may not be the gender indicator. Because, in the case of Kesiraja’s “Arasam moorkham sachivara sarasvati drohara”, the words arasa and moorkha are not neuter genders. Thus –am appears to be the suffix for the nominative case.

When gender, person and case are combined, the cancellation of the cases (suffix) or the zero morphemes would not affect the simplicity or meaningfulness of the language.

3.The confusion in the application present and future tenses in Tulu language can be seen in the grammar written by Rev.Brigel. Present particles: maLpu>maLpu, maLpuve. keN>keNuve, boor>booruve, sai>saipe, paN>paNpe, par>parpe etc. The future particles respectively: maLpe, keNve ,boore ,saive ,paNambe ,paruve, etc.The second future participle for maLpe> maLtuduppe. These can be discussed further in the future chapters. The confusion in the application of future tenses not restricted only to Tulu. In prominent languages like English also, confusion can be seen in the usage of shall and will.etc.

0.08 If language is the art of describing the feelings generated in our minds in such a way that the other person properly understands it, the grammar is the result of review of the structure of the language and is the collection of opinions on the application of the language.

In this way, the correct understanding of the grammar shall foster healthy growth of the language. The words of Joseph Priestly (1772), the scientist famous for the discovery of oxygen, written more than three hundred years ago in his “Rudiments of English grammar” are pertinent:

“With respect to our own language, there seems to be a kind of claim upon all who make use of it, to do something for its improvement; and the best we can do for this purpose at present, is to establish its actual structure and the varieties with which it is used.”

The cited words are aptly pertinent to the Tulu speaking people. It is the intention of this work to show that Tulu people can ably portray to the world the rich cultural heritage of their land by engaging themselves in the creation of good literature in their mother tongue.

0.09 This grammatical work is meant to be read by Tulu experts and common Tulu people alike. Tulu people should get the spontaneity and energy as early as possible to read, to write, to express and moreover, to think originally in Tulu.

0.10 In presenting this work, based on my humble short term studies, I respectfully remember the ancient great grammarians like Kesiraja. I entreat Tulu experts to receive this work, forgiving whatever mistakes there may be, and ably guide Tulu people to develop Tulu language on its own strength so that the language of the heritage remains ever immortal.


Mysore, 22-5-1980

Translator's introduction

My father, Budha Shivalli (1923-1982) compiled a book, ‘Tulu Patero’ (paatero=language) on the philology of Tulu language and grammar written in Tulu language using Kannada script during 1982 and it was eventually published in 2004. There are linguists by education and linguists by choice or pure love of the language. Budha Shivalli belonged to the second category. For the benefit of those who are unable to read his original Tulu book, I am presenting a translation of his work in this blog. Since translation takes some time, kindly forgive if my postings -of translations- are slower than your expectation.