Tulu is a Southern Dravidian language spoken mainly in the
southwest of Karnataka State and in part of northern Kerala
State in India. There are also some Tulu speakers in Maharashtra
State and in the Gulf countries. The 2001 India census
reported 1.72 million Tulu speakers, though according to a
2009 estimate, the total number of speakers is between 3 and 5 million.
The Tigalari alphabet, which developed from the Grantha alphabet and
resembles the Malayalam alphabet, was formerly used to write Tulu,
However the majority of manuscripts in the Tigalari alphabet are in Sanskrit,
with some in Kannada, and relatively few in Tulu. The earliest known
texts in the Tigalari alphabet date from the 12th century AD.
The Tigalari alphabet was used mainly for for religious writings,
and is still used to some extent in parts of Kanara region of Karnataka.
For other purposes Tulu speakers use the Kannada alphabet.
Type of writing system: abugida or alphasyllabary
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines