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Tulu language

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Native to India
Region Coastal Karnataka and parts of northern Kerala, historically known as Tulu Nadu
Native speakers 1,949,000 (1997 survey)[1]  (date missing)
Language family
Writing system Kannada script, Tigalari
Language codes
ISO 639-2 dra
ISO 639-3 tcy

Tulu is a language spoken in south India, mainly in the states of Karnataka and Kerala. In Karnataka it is spoken mainly in the district of Dakshina Kannada. In Kerala it is spoken in the Kasargod district. The area where Tulu is spoken is sometimes called Tulunadu.


There are various dialects. The most important are:

  • Brahmin dialect: Spoken by Tulu Brahmins.
  • Jain dialect: Spoken by the Jains in the northern part of Tulu Nadu.
  • Common dialect: Spoken by the majority of people of Tulu Nadu; the dialect of commerce, entertainment and art.
  • Tribal dialect: Spoken by tribal people; closely resembles the Common dialect.