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The regions of Kasargod, Udupi, and Mangaluru comprise Tulunadu

Like Konkani, Tulu is a language that is spoken in parts of Karnataka and Kerala. The people who speak this language are called Tuluvas, and in the southernmost region, they are known as Thigalayas. Among many dialects that Karnataka and Kerala are known for, Tulu makes up for a large part of the linguistic population, but still remains a linguistic minority because it has not been included in the Constitution's 8th schedule.

Tulu is believed to be one of the most linguistically developed languages among scholars. It does not have a script, like Konkani, as native speakers make do with Kannada and Malayalam scripts. The differences in sound and form are identifiable only to those who form what is known as Tulu Nadu.


An unofficial state within states, Tulu Nadu consists of Mangaluru, Udupi and parts of Kasargod. In these regions, the Tulu population is greater then surrounding areas where the language is spoken. When India was divided into states post partition, the Tuluvas asked for a separate state for themselves, but this was not granted keeping in mind the even greater Kannada speaking population who formed Karnataka.

The Tulu script Tulu is a language that borrows the script of Malayalam and Kannada Image credit: wikimedia commons

Tulu, as a language, remains a minority because it never received royal patronage. Krishnadevaraya, a renowned king of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, did not patronise this language even though it was his own mother tongue. He chose to laud poetry in Telugu instead, which affected the Tuluva community immensely in gaining prominence in their own land.

Even today, this community is working hard to be recognised as a population larger than they are considered to be. Many poets, authors, and literary figures from the community have contributed to Kannada literature, hoping to revive the knowledge and acknowledgement of Tulu.

Keywords: Tulu, Kannada, Karnataka, Tulu Nadu, Language


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