Now, Tulu has a real dictionary!
An 18-year, Rs 4.5-million linguistic effort will reach completion on September 27 in Udupi, Karnataka, when the Govind Pai Research Centre releases the final three volumes of its Tulu lexicon project.
The project was started in October 1979 and has been completed in record time, according to chief editor Dr U P Upadhyaya. The first 10 years was devoted to extensive field work. Speech forms
of different dialects, special vocabularies used for different occupational activities, rituals, socio-religious
occasions and folk literature in the forms of paaddanas, kabites, folk
songs, proverbs and riddles were studied in detail.
The trilingual lexicon -- Tulu-Kannada-English -- contains over
100,000 entries with 3,400 pages. The third volume was released in 1995. The six volumes are together priced at a mere Rs 500.
Dr Upadhyaya said this was the first-ever such attempt after the first Tulu-English dictionary
produced by Reverend Manner in 1886.
"Our research proves that Tulu was the first among the
five Dravidian languages," he said. He said that several renowned linguists
have also supported the claim after going through his team's work. The Tulu
lexicon was awarded the Gundert award for the best dictionary in the
country in 1996, he added.
Highlighting the project features, he said it had exploited
different styles and registers ranging from the highly stylised
bhoota oracle to the simple straightforward lisping of the child
language, and the highly ornate style of the pic sri bhagavatho
to the work-songs of women labourers in paddy
It had citations and illustrations from oral literature and
colloquial idioms along with passages from classical texts.
Dr Upadhyaya said the project employed modified Roman
script in addition to the Kannada script for main entries,
sub-entries and citations. In addition, there were also illustrative passages.
The dictionary recorded all suffixes, their
analysis, dialect variations, illustrations giving detailed
treatment of oblique forms, irregular inflected and conjugated
forms for proper understanding of the morphological and syntactic
structure. It also records the cognate
words from other Dravidian languages for those of Dravidian
origin, besides the source words from Sanskrit, Arabic,
Persian, Portuguese and other languages.
He said over 50,000 vocabularies, audio recording of paaddanas
and interviews were collected during the field work in 45 villages.
The Karnataka government had
extended a grant of Rs 3.7 million for the project.