Saturday, 6 February 2016

Tulu Lesson 3: Simple Present Tense

Hello everyone, welcome back!

Today we are going to learn simple present tense. Simple present tense used to remark habits, general realities, repeated actions or unchanging situations. In Tulu it’s also used for future tense.

As far as I know, there is no such a well-defined rule in the Tulu grammar books or there are very few scholars who wrote about Tulu grammar. As a native speaker, I have observed how the verbs in Tulu are conjugated.  There are two conjugations. Look at the following verbs:

Root verbs:
pO – To go
bare – To write
mAr – To sell
kaDapu – To cross

Aye pOpe – He goes.
Aye barepe – He writes
Aye mAruve – He sells.
Aye kaDapuve – He crosses.

Can you see the difference? Yes, first two verbs are conjugated by adding extra ‘p’ sound and other two verbs are conjugated by adding ‘uv’ sound. So what is the difference between these verbs? If you studied ‘chandas’ in Sanskrit or in any other Indian languages, it is simple! If a root verb takes 2 or less than 2 ‘matras’ (meters) to pronounce, then the sound ‘p’ is added and if a root verb takes more than 2 ‘matras’ to pronounce, then it is conjugated by adding ‘uv’ sound. Please note that in Tulu, words which end with consonant sound has final ‘half-u’ sound as I explained in How to Pronounce. So, while calculating ‘matras’, make sure to consider ‘half-u’ as equal to a vowel.

For those who don’t know about ‘chandas’, let me explain in different way. To add ‘p’ sound to verb conjugation in Simple Present tense, a root verb must be in one of the following cases:
1. Root verb has only one syllable.
2. Root verb should not have more than 2 syllables.  If root verb has 2 syllables, then any of the syllables should not have a long vowel or more than one consonant.

Otherwise, it is conjugated by adding ‘uv’ sound.

Syllable is a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants. The number of times that you hear the sound of a vowel is the number of syllables in a word.
Eg: ‘rAjA’ has 2 syllables rA and jA. 
‘satya’ has 2 syllables sat and ya   

Now take the verb ‘pO’. It has only one syllable. So it can be conjugated as pO + p + personal ending.

The verb ‘bare’ has two syllables ‘ba’ and ‘re’ and each has one short vowel and single consonant. So it can be conjugated as bare + p + personal ending.

The verb ‘mAr’ has two syllables (including final ‘half-u’ sound i.e mA and rŭ) and the first syllable has a long vowel. So it is conjugated as mAr + uv + personal ending.

The verb ‘kaDapu’ has three syllables ‘ka’, ‘Da’ and ‘pu’. So it is conjugated as kaDapu + uv + personal ending.

Let us take one more verb ‘malpu’. It has two syllables ‘mal’ and ‘pu’. First syllable has two consonant sounds. So it is conjugated as malpu + uv + personal ending. Got it?

You do not have to worry about it. I will make two groups for your reference; Class A and Class B.

Class A is for the verbs like ‘pO’ (Infinitive: pOpini) and ‘bare’ (Infinitive: barepini) - To make infinitive form, add ‘pini’ to root verb. Eg: pO+pini=pOpini

Class B is for the verbs like ‘mAr’ (mAruni) and ‘kaDapu’ (kaDapuni) - To make infinitive form, add ‘uni’ to root verb. Eg: mAr+uni=mAruni

Before proceeding further, let us look at all of the personal endings:

Example: pO
Example: pO
First Person
Second Person
Third Person

learn tulu

yAn pOpae – I go
I pOpa – You go
Aye/imbe pOpe – He goes
Al/mOlu pOpal – She goes
au/undu pOpuNDu – It goes
nama/enkulu pOpa – We go
Ir/nikulu pOpar – You go
akulu/mokulu/Ar/mEr pOper – They go
undekulu/aikulu pOpa – They go

yAn malpuvae – I do
I malpuva – You do
Aye/imbe malpuve – He does
Al/mOlu malpuval – She does
au/undu malpuNDu – It does (We don’t have to add ‘uv’ sound since personal ending starts from ‘u’ sound. Personal ending ‘uNDu’ directly added to root verb)
nama/enkulu malpuva – We do
Ir/nikulu malpuvar – You do
akulu/mokulu/Ar/mEr malpuver – They do
undekulu/aikulu malpuva – They do

Some of the verbs used in daily conversation:

Class A verbs:

A (Apini) – To become
pO (pOpini) – To go
tU (tUpini) – To see
dI (dIpini) – To place
mI (mIpini) – To bathe
rA (rApini) – To fly
sai (saipini) – To die
bar (barpini) – To come
kaDe (kaDepini) – To grind
paDe (paDepini) – To obtain
tiN (tiNpini) – To eat
uN – (uNpini) To eat (rice or lunch/dinner)
paN (paNpini) – To say/tell
ben (benpini) – To work
ker (kerpini) – To kill
ner (nerpini) – To scold
par (parpini) – To drink
kor (korpini) – To give
bare (barepini) – To write
buDu (buDpini) - To leave

Class B verbs:

uppu/ippu (uppuni/ippuni) – To be
kEN (kENuni) – To hear/ listen /ask
bUr (bUruni) – To fall
jAr (jAruni) – To slip
mAr (mAruni) – To sell
pAr (pAruni) – To run
pAter (pAteruni) – To speak
nInd (nInduni) – To swim
dakk (dakkuni) – To throw
dekk (dekkuni) – To wash
tikk (tikkuni) – To get/meet
untu  (untuni) – To stand
kullu (kulluni) – To sit
lakk (lakkuni) – To get up
kalk (kalkuni) – To shout
bad’k (bad’kuni) – To live
murku (murkuni) – To sink/drown
telipu (telipuni) – To smile/laugh
naDapu (naDapuni) – To walk
balipu (balipuni) – To run
bulipu (bulipuni) – To weep/cry
nalipu (nalipuni) – To dance
malpu (malpuni) – To do
kalpu (kalpuni) – To learn
kApu (kApuni) – To wait
paripu (paripuni) – To tear
parapu (parapuni) – To flow/crawl
maDipu (maDipuni) – To fold
oripu (oripuni) – To save
mugipu (mugipuni) – To finish
menpu (menpuni) – To wake someone up
jeppu (jeppuni) – To sleep
jappu (jappuni) – To get down
leppu (leppuni) – To call
lappu (lappuni) – To measure
kaDpu (kaDpuni) – To cut
kaDapu (kaDapuni) – To cross
torpu (torpuni) – To kick
uripu (uripuni) – To blow
sOpu (sOpuni) – To lose
aDipu (aDipuni) – To sweep
deppu (deppuni) – To remove/take out or to open ( the door)
derpu (derpuni) - To lift
madapu (madapuni) – To forget
korepu (korepuni) – To bark
gobbu (gobbuni) – To play
deng (denguni) – To hide
gend (genduni) – To win
muchchu (muchchuni) – To close
Odu (Oduni) – To read
lAg (lAguni) – To jump
pAD (pADuni) – To put/wear
nUku (nUkuni) – To push/shove
ottu (ottuni) – To press
galas (galasuni) – To use
balas (balasuni) – To serve food
patt (pattuni) – To hold/catch
muTTu (muTTuni) – To touch/reach
kaTT (kaTTuni) – To build/tie
paTT (paTTuni) – To share/distribute
naTT (naTTuni) – To beg
boTTu (boTTuni) – To knock
puTTu (puTTuni)  – To born
Ak (Akuni) – To hit/beat

Whenever I come across new verbs, I will keep updating it in Vocabulary page.

Let us make some short sentences in simple present tense. To begin with, we need to know the structure of a sentence. In Tulu, we have subjects at the beginning and verbs at the end of the sentences. All other items such as objects come between these two. Sometimes objects may come at the beginning and subjects in the middle.  

yAn sAleg pOpe – I go to school. (Kannada: nAnu shAlege hOguttEne)
I sAleg pOpa – You go to school. (Kannada: nInu shAlege hOguttIya)
Aye sAleg pOpe – He goes to school (Kannada: avanu shAlege hOguttAne)
mOlu sAleg pOpal – She goes to school (Kannada: ivaLu shAlege hOguttALe)

enkulu dinola pEpar Oduva – We read news paper daily. (Kannada: nAvu dinA pEpar OduttEve)
Ir vArogu onji katae barepar – You write one story every week. (Kannada: nIvu vArakke ondu kathe bareyuttIri)
akulu tingolgu ora illaDe barper – They come home once a month (Kannada: avaru tingaLige omme manege baruttAre)

nAyi dinola rAtrae korepuNDu – Dog barks at night daily. (Kannada: nAyi dinA rAtri bogaLuttade)
nAyilu dinola rAtrae korepuva - Dogs bark at night daily. (Kannada: nAyigaLu dinA rAtri bogaLuttave)

yAn enna baik’n pratI aitAra dekkuvae – I wash my bike every Sunday. (Kannada: nAnu nanna baikannu pratI bhAnuvAra toLeyuttEne)
nama dinola kANDae mIpa – We take bath every morning. (Kannada: nAvu dinA beLigge snAna mADuttEve)
Aye dinola bayyag gobbuve – He plays every evening. (Kannada: avanu dinA sanje ADuttAne)
sUrya mUDaiD puTTuNdu, paDDaiD murkuNDu – Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. (sUrya pUrvadalli huTTuttade, pashchimadalli muLuguttade)
petta pEr korpuNDu – Cow gives milk. (Kannada: dana hAlu koDuttade)
AkAshoDu pakkilu rApa – Birds fly in the sky.(Kannada: AkAshadalli hakkigaLu hAruttave)

akulu dinola kaNDoDu benper – They work in the field daily. (Kannada: avaru dinA gaddeyalli duDiyuttAre)
Al Epola satya pAterval – She always speaks truth. (Kannada: avaLu yAvAgalU satya mAtADuttALe)
I dinola kANDae chA parpa – You drink tea every morning. (Kannada: nInu dinA beLigge chahA kuDiyuttIya)

enkulu dinoku raDD portu uNpa – We eat (rice) two times a day. (Kannada: nAvu dinakke eraDu sala UTa mADuttEve)

‘uN’ verb only used to indicate eating rice. From ‘uN’ we have the word ‘oNas’ which means lunch or dinner. In South India, normally everyone eat rice for lunch and dinner.

‘tiN’ verb used for other eatables. From ‘tiN’ we have the word ‘teNas’ which means eatable.       

In Tulu, Simple Present Tense also used for future tense to talk about prior plans, strong intentions, fixed arrangements and to make promises or threats.  

yAn ellae illaDe pOpae – I will go home tomorrow. (Kannada: nAnu nALe manege hOguttEne)
yAn aitAra nikk tikkuvae – I will meet you on Sunday. (Kannada: nAnu bhAnuvAra ninage siguttEne)
rAjEsh raDD gaNTeD pira barpe – Rajesh will return in two hours. (Kannada: rAjEsh eraDu gaNTeyalli hinde baruttAne)

yAn bayya ain gaNTeg nigaNT barpae – I will definitely come at 5 o’clock in the evening. (Kannada: nAnu sanje aidu gaNTege khaNDita baruttEne)
mAtala sama ApuNDu. – Everything will be fine.(Kannada: ellavU sari Aguttade)
yAn nikk kApuvae – I will wait for you. (Kannada: nAnu ninage kAyuttEne)
I enan madapuva – you will forget me. (Kannada: nInu nannannu mareyuttIya)

New words used in today’s lesson:
dina/dino – day
dinola – daily
onji – one
katae – story
vAra/vAro – week
tingolu – month
ora – once
ill – house
sAlae – school
nAyi – dog
rAtrae – night
aitAra – Sunday
pratI – every
kANDae – morning
bayya – evening
mUDai – east
paDDai - west
chA – tea
raDD – two
portu – time
petta – cow
pEr – milk
AkAsha/AkAsho – sky
pakki – bird
kaNDa/kaNDo – field
Epola – always
satya – truth
ellae – tomorrow
gaNTe – hour
mAtha – all
mAthala – everything
sama/sari – correct

Please try to make sentences using other verbs listed above. If you need help, feel free to comment. See you next week!

Solmelu! (Thanks!)


  1. Excellent....this is exactly what I was looking for ! Keep it coming !

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words :)

  2. Sathyanarayanan SApril 12, 2016 10:32 am

    Hi Kiran. I am very happy to see the Tulu tutorials from you. Good effort. I have been learning Tulu from various sources for the past 6 months. Your tutorial is nicely organized. I would like to give some suggestions so that it will be easy for learners like me to use.
    1. Improve the verb vocabulary section by putting the verbs in various forms. For example, for the verb "malpu", you can write like this "malpula - malpuve - malte - malpe"
    Even though you had mentioned the verb forms have type and can be classified into case a and case b, it gives confusion and ambiguity.
    2. I feel that we should concentrate on adjectives and adverbs before proceeding to complex sentence formation

  3. Thanks Sathyanarayanan for the suggestion. Yeah, i wil be posting lessons on adjectives and adverbs very soon. Adjectives and adverbs can also be formed using verbs. So i thought it would be easy if i explained tesnses first. Also i will try to implement your other suggestions asap. Again thanks for commenting. Your feedback means a lot to me.

  4. Wow. I was searching for tulu learning tutorial. I want to learn tulu. Your blog is helpful. Thank you so much :) Akash

    1. Thank you Akash for your feedback :)

  5. Super sir..... Amazing teaching... I am learning it very easily...