IntroductionTulu is one of the important languages belonging to the Dravidian family of languages and spoken by about 1.5 million population in the
Though spoken by a highly advanced and educated community the Tulu language did not develop much of classical literature due perhaps to lack of royal patronage. But we do come across a large mass of folk literature handed down to us through oral tradition. Considering the small area in which this language is spoken the output of Tulu oral tradition is really marvelous and the folk epics and ballads found here can be ranked among the well known folk epics of other regions. The recent discovery of a couple of inscriptions as well as two epic poems `Sri Bhagavato' and `Kaveri' in what is known as the Tulu Script has completely shaken our notions 'about the use of this language in mass-media and creative writings in ancient times. One of the inscriptions is ascribed to 15th Century by the epigraphists whereas the epic poem `Sri Bhagavato' can safely be ascribed to the 17th Century as per the horoscope of the author recorded in the work. The other poem also belongs to the same period as testified by the language used in the poem. A manuscript of another prose work is also discovered recently.
factors enable Tutu to occupy a place of pride among the major literary
The Tulu culture has several special characteristics: just to name a few: religious rites like Nagamandala and Bhuta worship; theatre forms like Yakshagana and Talamaddale, folk dances like aati kajanja and maadira; folk singing traditions like sandhi, paaddana, oobeele, kabite etc., folk amusements like kambala (buffalo race); kooli arika (cock-fight),.folk games like palle pattuni, pokku gobbu, kaliaata etc., social institutions like aliya santaana kattu (system of inheritance by sister’s sons). Naturally the essence of this culture is infused in the language and in its oral and written forms of literature. Undoubtedly Tulu deserves a serious and systematic study.
About a hundred and thirty years ago Christian missionaries began the practice of using Kannada script to write and print texts in Tulu language. Quite a few religious and literary works were printed in this fashion. Prior to this there has been in vogue a script which indeed had the name Tulu script. But strangely this Tulu script later on came to be exclusively used by Brahmins to write texts of Sanskrit language. Even today philosophical texts and religious verses are being sometimes written in the Tulu script. The Brahmins of the Dakshina Kannada district have had the tradition of going to centers of learning in Kerala for higher studies in scriptures. These scholars and the Malayalam scholars of Kerala jointly formulated a script which was known as the Tulu-Malayalam script. This script, with some modifications, came to be known as Tulu script and was being used by Sanskrit scholars and priests. A few inscriptions in this Tulu script have also been discovered. The manuscripts of the Tulu epics `Sri Bhagavato and 'Kaveri', which belong to the 17th-century are also in this Tulu script.
Christian Missionaries came to Dakshina Kannada in 1834 and started their missionary activities in places like Mangalore, Mulki and Udupi. When_ they gave their religious discourses or published the translations of religious texts like the Bible, they found it convenient to use the Tulu language spoken by the majority of the people in these areas. Since the official language of the area was Kannada, they published their works in Kannada script itself. They took the initiative of writing a grammar of Tulu and of making a dictionary of Tulu language for the sake of the learners of the language. Whatever might have been the objectives of their popularizing the Tulu language, there is no denying of the fact that these missionary activities laid the foundation for the development of Tulu as a language of literature and education. Development of written literature in Tulu was greatly helped by their missionary programs. The grammar and the dictionary produced by the missionaries have played a vital role in initiating a renaissance of Tulu language. In the pre-independence days The Tulu movement started in Udupi by the late Sri Paniyadi and his friends was greatly strengthened by the missionary zeal for the propagation of Tulu. Since then, Kannada script has been accepted as the script for the writing of the Tulu language. Among Christian missionaries Rev. Kammerer and Rev. Amman were the first to think in terms of preparing a dictionary for Tulu language. In 1856 Rev. Kammerer began collecting the words in the language and by 1858 when he died; he had made a list of 2000 vocabulary units. Rev. Manner took up the task of completing this work. With the help of Kapu Madhwaraya, Mulki Seetharama, Mangalore Sarvothama Pai and Israel Aron of Basel Mission he prepared a Tulu-English dictionary of about 18000 words and this was published in 1886 with the financial support of the Madras Government. This was a monumental work in those days. In 1988, as a sequel to this, an English-Tulu dictionary was published by Rev. Manner. For the next one century these were the only authentic dictionaries available for use for the study of Tulu language. The Christian missionaries deserve great credit for this significant contribution which they made when neither linguistics nor lexicography had attained any great advancement. Rev. Manner had tried to make his dictionary as perfect as possible within the means available in those days. He had written-the Tulu words both in Kannada script and modified Roman script. He had incorporated special symbols to indicate the correct pronunciation. In addition to giving several meanings he had illustrated them by mentioning relevant phrases and idioms. It is a standing example for the hard work and devotion of the German Missionaries.
the limitations of the time, personnel and other facilities and resources available
at that time this dictionary can be considered as a monumental work. But _being
the first dictionary of this language produced one hundred years ago when the
linguistic science was` not well developed it has its obvious limitations. In a
language like Tulu which does not possess much of written literature and which
has different regional and social dialects, a detailed survey is necessary to
record vocabularies used by the people of different communities and
professions. Extensive field work has to be undertaken to collect the
specialized vocabulary used in relation to the various occupations and on the
occasion of fairs and festivals, religious ceremonies, folk performances,
sports and games. The past lexicographers did not have the necessary
facilities. The scientific techniques needed for the purpose had not yet been discovered.
Manner's dictionary, for example, had not distinguished between the two major dialects
of the Tulu language - one the common Tulu and the other used by the Shivalli Brahmins.
It had not recorded the variations of the words in different dialects of Tulu.
It had not given synonyms, or meanings in Kannada, nor equivalents in the other
Dravidian languages. It had not incorporated proverbs, idioms and citations.
Though synonyms and derivations had been given here and there, they were very
meager. The dictionary did not contain specialized technical words relating to
different professions, occupations, religious and social practices etc. It did
not include words relating to special styles of the language and words peculiar
to folk-literature. In 1967 Prof. IM. Mariappa Bhat, Professor of Kannada at
The treasure of words and explanations relating to the social, religious, art and professional contexts of Tulu life would be an invaluable reference work containing material not only for the-study of Tulu language but also of its culture.
The project that the Samshodhana Kendra envisaged was a pioneering one. The Lexicons of the great languages of the world are mainly based on the words chosen from the literary texts of the respective languages. Only as a supplement to this treasure of words, details relating to the spoken versions of the language are generally appended. The dictionaries brought out in those languages which exist in the oral tradition with little or no literary texts for support are word lists prepared by linguists for purposes of linguistic analysis and research or small dictionaries brought out_ by Christian missionaries or other social or educational institutions. They are mostly limited to the basic vocabulary of the language.
No systematic effort had yet been done to collect the vast treasure of words in use in the myriad situations of life encompassing its several aspects. The Tulu Lexicon Project aims to bring out a complete dictionary which can become a cultural encyclopedia incorporating everything relating to Tulu life and culture. It was decided to gather, in addition to the basic vocabulary current in the everyday life of people in different regions of Tulunadu and belonging to different social groups, technical words relating to different professions like agriculture, fishing, hunting and various handicrafts, cultural words in vogue in the social and religious rites like Bhuta worship, buffalo race, cock-fighting etc, on the basis of an extensive dialect' survey in each region. It was decided to note down the variations in form and pronunciation of each word in different regions and communities. It was envisaged that words should be collected from the several special styles of the language like literary language, child-language, language of folk literature and the language of the Bhuta oracle etc. The plan included also the gathering of words relating to proper -nouns peculiar to the community, surnames, place names and clan names, idiomatic expressions, interjections, prefixes and suffixes, oblique forms of words in declension, conjugation and formation of compounds. The method to be adopted was to list the Tulu words in the Indian alphabetical order in the Kannada and modified Roman scripts, to give dialect variations, provide different shades of meaning, to note down compound words and phrases* derived from them and give proverbs and riddles relating to those words. It was also envisaged to record cognate words in sister-Dravidian languages like Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. The regional and social variations in form and sound will lead to knowledge of the special features of Tulu dialects. They will provide material for the reconstruction of the Proto-Tulu. They will help the evolution of a standard form to be used in the media and in the composition of literature. The derivatives, idioms and proverbs are going to be of immense help in the development of literary styles and the preparation of text books. The vocabulary relating to different aspects of culture and the explanations there on will provide the material for the understanding and interpretation of the special features of Tulu society and will activate scholars to study and take up research on Tulu' culture and in general it will lead to a revival and promotion of Tulu culture. The recording of cognate words in sister languages will help a comparative study of Dravidian languages. They will throw light on the origin and history of Tulu language and will help to estimate the relationship between Tulu and the Proto Dravidian tongue.
language is geographically limited to a small region but the dialect variations
displayed by it are really baffling and a challenge to Linguists. For the first
time, a systematic and scientific survey and analysis of the dialects was
conducted for this language. When - Prof. T. Burrow, renowned linguist of
most significant support came from the Government of Karnataka which readily
accepted the proposal placed before it in the year 1979 and came forward to
provide the necessary grant to launch and carry out the project. The Trust of
College, which runs the Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra has provided the
necessary physical facilities in terms of
building, office rooms and furniture. The Academy of General Education and Sri Veerendra
Heggade, Darmadhikari of Darmasthala temple has lent institutional support. With the
support assured by these organizations and with the cooperation of leading public- figures
and scholars the project was initiated on October 1979.
The work accomplished by the Tulu Lexicon Project can be listed as follows:
1) Initial preparations, training sessions-and workshops for field workers and researchers.
2) Preliminary survey, fixing up of dialect areas.
3) Publication of the specimen pages; setting up of aim and objectives of the project.
4) Field work in is villages. Collection and recording of 50,000 words and their variations
from the spoken language of different communities.
5) Audio recording of 300 hours of recitation of paaddanas, songs, kabites, nursery rhymes
6) Transcription of paaddanas in about 25,000 lines. Collection of special words and idioms
from the paaddanas from the tapes as well as from the transcribed portions
7) Audio recording and documentation of interviews held with people of different
occupations and professions.
8) Collection of four thousand proverbs and riddles.
9) Collection of vocabulary relating to different occupations like farming, horticulture,
fishing, toddy-tapping, hunting, oil pressing, pottery, basket making, weaving etc. on
the basis of survey done on the spot, where these activities are being carried on.
Collection of information on the occasion of folk tournaments like buffalo race and
11) Participation in several sessions of Bhuta worship in several places and collection and
recording offrwords relating tothe different forms of ritual and worship, recording of
the oragle sessions of spirit worship. ,
12 Participation in several social and religious rituals and sacrements like marriage,
ceremony, pubertymrites funeral rituals etc. etc. of different communities and
of different seasons and collection of data.
13) Gathering of information on the beliefs, rituals, tabooes etc. current among different
14) Collection of vocabulary from childrens' language, derogatory and abusive words,
vocative words, echo words onomatopoic words, proper nouns peculiar to Tuluvas,
surname, place names etc. _
15) Collection of 80(lt] words from the _ancient epics@`Sri Bhagavatho and `Kaverr and the
appropriate citations. . `
16) Collection of words~from_all the other available literary sources of Tulu language, like '
the publications of Christian missionaries, publications in Tulu during the time of Sr:
Paniyadi and Tulu texts of contemporary times. a
12) . Classification of words according to subjects and the preparation of index cards.
18) Listing of classified data and the making of the skeleton of the Tulu lexicon.
19) Preparation of rough draft of the lexicon for the words relating to human body-parts;
home and domestic' life, and trees and plants.
20) Printing and publication of a 80 page specimen dictionary with 500 words relatingto
human limbs.- as
21) Alphabetical arrangement of cards and the preparation of rough draft of the dictionary
for vowels. A
22) Printing and publication of the first volume.
We are immensely happy to place before scholars and linguists of the world and the
general public of the Tulu region this first volume of the Tulu Lexicon. We don*t claim
that this publication is free from. any deficiencies or that it is all perfect. It is almost an
impossible task to delve into all the remotest depths of any language and to exhibit its
whole treasure. Any human effort will fall short of the ultimate possibilities of achievement
and accomplishment. In the words of Drl Samuel Johnson, the Father of modern Lexicography,
authors of other works canaspire for encomiums and rewards. The best that a lexicographer
can hope for is to be spared from blame and ridicule. Even that would be an over ambitious
"`Every other author may aspire to praise, .
The Lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach*.*
. , ---Samuel Johnson
But we have reasons for consolation too. From several points of view this Lexicon can
claim a place of distinction among all the dictionaries brought out in Indian Languages.
Mostly the dictionaries of Indian languages are based on vocabulary collected from written
texts. Though this Lexicon has drawn on a variety of literary texts ranging from the ancient
epic poems "`Sri Bhagavatho" and *'Kar-ieri" of the 17th century to. the most contemporary
literary epic "Mandara Ramayana", it has in addition availed itself of the vocabulary from
the folk literature preserved through oral tradition and also from the varieties of dialects
E actually spoken in the different regions. To the best of our knowledge and belief no other
language like written literature, folk literature and dialect material. It is-rare to find a
dictionary drawing on different styles of a language. But here we have recorded words
from a wide range of styles from the highly stylized Bhuta oracle to the simple straight-
forward lisping of a child. While giving examples we have drawn extensively on all possible
sources. We have given citations not only from ancient epics like Sri Bhagavaro, Bible
translations of Missionaries, Tulu literature from the past century till today consisting. of
stories, poetry, plays and Yakshaganas, but also from the paao'danas, sarrdhis, uraals and
folk tales. Even the Bhuta oracles and nursery rhymes have been used while giving
illustrations. In addition,~a large number of proverbs, riddles, jokes, abusive phrases have
been given. Such an extensive exploitation of the literary, folk and colloquial resources of
a language is not attempted so far for any Indian language. That is the basis for our consolation.
The extensive dialect survey and field work accomplished as preliminary task for collecting
a large body of data is also a singular achievement. The survey and field work have been
conducted both as per the interview method and the participation method. The field workers
have combed the region from the colonies of _the fishermen in the West coast up to the
dwelling places of Malekudiya tribes of t-he
from the Brahmins of Udupi to the Gowdas of Sullia, from the Kopalas of Kasaragod to
the Jains of Karkala. They have mixed with people of all ranks and communities, visiting
the palatial residences (Guttu, Beedu) of the Bunts and the pens and huts of Harijans.-They
have -witnessed myriad rites and festival ranging from the adyeta cullelu of Meras to the
'siimanta' of Brahmins. They have ranged between occupations like weaving of baskets and
tapping of toddy, between sports like 'cenne manef' and cock fighting, between paaddanas
and joking verses of marriage ceremonies. This extensive exploitation of a wide range of
resources is a pioneering achievement. it is noteworthy that both formal styles and colloquial
styles are given equal importance in a dictionary. Dialect expressions do find a place in
several creative works of modern times. This is natural and necessary in a growing language.
When we read the literary works of Kannada writers=like Shivarama Karanth, Mirji Annaraya,
and Rao Bahaddur, there are occas_ions when no l<annada dictionary helps us in understanding
some peculiar expressions based on the dia_lect_variations of the language of the area. On
such occasions it is only dictionaries which incorporate both the formal and informal
elements in the language that can help us. From this point of view this Lexicon is expected
to become a beacon light to future Lexicographers in other Indian Languages.
Generally,~in the Lexicons of Indian Languages, only the root' word is chosen for entry
and explanation. But in this Lexicon along with the root words, the suffixes and the variations
of the suffixes in different dialects are also recorded along- wgh their fneaningsboth in
Kannada and English and examples of usage, -cf, unglu, uncla, antu, anta, andu, ande,
anu etc. Those who wish to take up a scientific analysis of Tulu `language or take up a
comparative study of Tulu dialects or those who are engaged in the reconstruction of Proto
Tulu language will find such entries immensely useful. It is also common that when certain
nouns or verbs are inflected or conjugated, or when they are followed by other nouns or
verbs in compound words they undergo certain modifications of form. Such oblique forms
are `given here withthe symbol obl. When such modifications are frequent in usage they
have been chosen-as main entries and the compound words derived from them have been
`given as sub-entries. The modified form of the word ayinu *five' is ayf- and the derivatives
are ayimbala, ayinirigalu etc. When verbs and nouns are given as main entries, if their-
conjugated or inflected forms have any irregular or special forms they have been given
within brackets. For eg. ajji; ajjiyadiklu: plural. When reflexive and causative forms are
given as main entries, the roots from which these have been derived are given within brackets.
Irregular inflected and conjugated forms are given as main entries along with grammatical
explanations (cf. umuku, innaata, etc.) Certain special units of Tulu expressions like idiomatic
particles such as umbaraa, gnda, inpii, indudu etc, echo words like aglye gidye, aamaji
paamaji etc.; onamatopoeic words like ambee, abulabulu, have been incorporated into this
lexicon. When the main entry occurs as the final element of a compound word, all such
compound words are given together against the symbol-vide. (see: aata, addige, anne, illul
etc.) When a compound word or inflected or conjugated word appears as a main entry its
analysis is given below by separating the constituents by a + mark.
Such detailed treatment of grammatical forms and usages is not noticed in the dictionaries
of other Indian languages. We hope that the methodology adopted for this lexicon will
serve as a model for other lexicographers. ~
The recording of synonyms is another special feature of this dictionary. For example,
against the main entry asaru is given the symbol cf. followed by its synonyms angatne,
baajalu turse etc. Not only for root words but also for prefixes this system is adopted.
Words which are not synonyms but which can be compared with that entry due to some
kind of formal or semantic relationship have been given in square brackets against the
symbol,' q.v. for example, against the main entry agelu the words igle, pasaarne etc. have
been indicated. Though all these are edible offerings to spirits and Bhutas they are different
from each other. But there is a commonness among =them.too. Similarly the negative suffix
in the past tense - iju and the negative suffix in present tense ~uju can be compared _for
structural and semantic relationship. Such entries of synonyms and comparable words are
given wherever it is felt useful. this lexicon is full of such useful grammatical and semantic
information. Some lexicons do give the pronunciation of words in a modified Roman script
or in the International Phonetic script to facilitate correct pronunciation particularly forthe
benefit of those who are not veryjamiliar with the script used in the lexicon. But we have
given here in international phonetic script the. transliteration not only of the main entries,
but also of- the sub-entries,- of the derivatives, of the usages drawn from literary sources
and of idioms and proverbs. This will facilitate the use of Tulu words and usages by scholars
all over the world for purposes of comparative study of Dravidian languages. Giving the
entire data - words, illustrations, citations etc. in two scripts - Kannada and Roman is a
noteworthy feature of this lexicon. ~ . ~
_When words are beingexplained in Kannada and English, attention has been paid to
the several levels of meaning: General meaning, special meaning,= figurative meaning,
derogatory meaning and suggested meaning. For example see the rheanings of entries like
2aa, angle, ajaa etc, and also different homophonous forms of the words like atte, 2aa, aru,
aaju, ari etc. When the words relate to social, cultural- and artistic specialities of Tulu people
or to the characteristic occupations of Tuiu region, the explanation of the words ar given.
on the model of any encyclopaedia. For example see aati (Karkataka month). The sub-entries
aarida punname, aatida agelu, aatikaianja, aati kuiluni have been explained with reference
to.the relevant cultural background and the associated rituals. Further examples can be
seen under the main entry ari and the sub entries arikurkuni, ari paaraavuni, aritta biru
etc,. and under the main entry ame and the sub entries like amekatti, amekkaie ameniiru,
amemuuri etc. When plant names are explained, their uses as edible stuff, as tools of
agriculture, as herbs and as components of religious rites are recorded, wherever these
details are relevant. See the_ entries igeyi, iindu etc. and their use in folk medicine, in
agricultural operation, in rituals etc. The botanic names of the plants are also given. Proverbs,
riddles and_ superstitions relating to them are also recorded. Thus designed on the model
of an encyclopaedia it can set an example for dictionaries in other Indian languages to be
prepared in future. For the exactness of explanations see words like unda, ande, aia, aguru,
arkilu, iidu, avu etc. -
While recording the cognates ofwords in other Dravidian languages we have consulted
the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary by Burrow and Emeneau and several other dictionaries.
in the case of words borrowed from Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, Marathi, Hindi
or English, we have shown the forms in the language of origin. Thus an`attempt has been
made to trace every Tulu word to its origin.
The extensive illustration of the use of words in phrases and idioms is another special
feature of this dictionaryj Under the main entry adi we have given not only the compound
words, and derived words like adi antara, adikanni, adittadya, adipaaya, adibariji etc. as
sub-entries, but also idioms and phrases likeadimudelu tappuni, adikanfa paadtxni, adipuujuni
etc. This throws valuable light on the stylistics of Tulu language. `There are more than fifty
sub entriesunder the main entry adi. Similarly the sub-entries under arts, aglye, ari, aati,
angle observed in the initial pages, will reveal the uniqueness of the methodology adopted
in the preparation of this dictionary. '
We. have sincerely tried to produce an authoritative, dependable dictionary of an all
comprehensive nature. it is those who walk that stumble, as the popular Kannada adage
goes. We may have stumbled here and there. If our readers give us a sympathetic and
understanding feed-back, we will be in a position to improve on this scheme in the next
volumes under preparation.
When we launched upon this project in 1979 it was our intention to complete it in
about five years. But, for various reasons we have had to extend the period of the project.
The greater the extent of field work, the greater is the volume of the work involved. The
vocabulary in the various occupations has not yet been fully surveyed...As we consult more
and more sources, and come across more and more informants our list of words goes on
extending. The vocabulary contained in the folk literature of Tulu is itself much beyond
our original estimate. The newly published epics of yore "Sri Bhagavato" "Kaveri" and
modern epics like "Mandara Ramayana" have provided us with a more extensive range of
vocabulary. When we launched upon this project we expected a higher degree of involvement
of local scholars in field work and dialect survey. but owing` to o_ther preoccupations of
these scholars - most of whom are lecturers and teachers and thus` burdened with work
through out the year they could not help us in extensive field work. Most of the dialect
survey had to be done by two or three researchers of the Projects.~As the posts of
researchers are temporary posts and do not carry the privileges admissible to other regular
government posts we could not get adequate responses to our adertisements. The scope
of the lexicon went on becoming larger and the staff went on depleting in size. Thus the
period of its operation is inevitably getting extended.
For the project to take shape, several individuals have toiled hard. The project is being
financed by the Karnataka Government. Former Ministers of Karnataka state like Sri Subbayya
Shetty, Sri Veerappa Moily and Sri G.B. Shankar liao have encouraged the Project. Chief
Minister Sri Ramakrishna Hegde, Education Minister Dr. Jeevaraja Alva, and Tourism, Kannada
and Culture Minister Sri M.P. Prakash have sustained the project during these crucial years
of its progress. The directors of the department of Kannada & culture, Government of
Karnataka recognized the magnitude and significance of the project and given their full
support. We have relied heavily for organizational support on the Trustees of
College headed by Sri Pai, Sri T. Ramesh U Pai, Registrar of the
The members of the Editorial Advisory Committee have spared their valuable time and
offered their valuable suggestions and guidelines. `The local scholars and consultants in
different regions of the district have helped us in arranging our field camps. and also offered
their valuable suggestions in determining meaning of the vocabulary items oolieded. Last
hut not the least we are highly obliged to our innocent village folk who cooperated with
us, replied to our querries, Sang their paaddanas and ballads, danced to the tune of their
ternbere hearings, expiained the process ,of making their baskets, pots and other handicraftt,
demonstrated their agricultural operations, fishing expcdtions and other occupational activities,
played their games, performed their ceremonies for our sake and cooperated with us in
long interview sessions. But for their cooperation our work would not have proceeded so
smoothly. The Lexicon Project is grateful to them.