Native toIndia
RegionSouth Karnataka, North Kerala
Native speakers
Kannada script, Malayalam script, English script
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byKarnataka Beary Sahitya Academy (Karnataka Beary Sahithya academy)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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External videos
video icon A Byari speaker speaking Byari

Beary or Byari (ಬ್ಯಾರಿ ബ്യാരി) is a Dravidian language spoken by the Bearys who are part of the Muslim community in Tulu Nadu region of Southern Karnataka and Northern Kerala (Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Kasargod districts). The community is often recognized as Bearys or Beary Muslims.[1][2][page needed] Beary language is made of Tulu phonology and grammar with Malayalam idioms. Due to the trading role of the community, the language acquired loan words from other languages of Tulu, Malayalam, Kannada and also from Perso-Arabic sources.[2][need quotation to verify]


The language uses the Arabic and Kannada alphabets for writing. Being a distant cousin of other dialects of Malayalam and surrounded by other linguistic groups for centuries, mainly Tulu, the dialect exhibits ancient features as well as modern innovations not seen in other well-known dialects of Malayalam.[3] Surrounded by Tulu-speaking populations, the impact of Tulu on the phonological, morphological and syntactic structure of the dialect is evident.[4]

Distinction of , ,

Sounds peculiar to Malayalam such as 'ḻ', 'ṇ', 'ṟ' are not found in this dialect.[5] 'ḷ' and 'ṇ' are merged with l and n, respectively.[5] 'ṟ' is merged with r and tt, 'tt' to t.[6] This resembles Tulu.[6]

Beary Bashe Kannada Malayalam English
sante sante canta 'market'
ēni ēṇi ēṇi 'ladder'
puli huḷi puḷi 'tamarind'
kāt gāḷi kāṯṯu 'wind'
cor anna cor 'rice'

v > b

The initial v of standard Malayalam corresponds to an initial b in Beary Bashe.[6] The same change has taken place in Tulu, too.

Beary Bashe Malayalam Tulu Kannada English
bēli vēli bēli bēli 'fence'
bitt vittu bitte bitta 1 'seed'
bādige vāṭaka 2 bādai bādege 'rent'
  1. Some dialects.
  2. This orthographic representation is phonemic. On a phonetic level, it often becomes [ˈʋaːɖəɡə], which is closer to the Tulu and Beary Bashe forms. This occurs because of a rule whereby voiced plosive consonants are intervocalic allophones of their unvoiced counterparts. However, this only applies to native Dravidian words, and as vāṭaka is a Sanskrit loanword, the prescriptively correct pronunciation is indeed [ˈʋaːʈəkə].

Distinction of 'a' and 'e'

The final 'a' of standard Malayalam corresponds to the final 'e' in Beary Bashe.[6]

Beary Bashe Kannada Malayalam English
āme āme āma 'tortoise'
cēre kere cēra 'rat snake'
mūle mūle mūla corner

Distinction of 'n' and 'm'

The word final 'n' and 'm' of standard Malayalam are dropped in Beary Bashe.[6]

Beary Bashe Malayalam Kannada English
ādya ādyam (modalu) 'first'
kalla kaḷḷan kaḷḷa 'thief'
cattae kuppāyam(catta) (batte) 'cloth'

Degeminated consonants

Geminated consonants occurring after a long vowel and also after a second short vowel of a word in standard Malayalam get degeminated in Beary Bashe.[7]

Beary Bashe Malayalam Tulu English
pūce pūcca pucce 'cat'

Lexical relations

Almost all lexical items in Beary language can be related to corresponding lexical items in Malayalam, Tulu or Perso-Arabic origin.[8] However, some equivalents can only be found in Mappila dialects of Malayalam in Kerala.[8]

Person endings

Verbs in old Dravidian languages did not have any person marking.[9] Person endings of verbs observed in modern Dravidian languages are later innovations.[9] Malayalam is the only Dravidian language that does not show any verbal person suffixes,[9] so Malayalam verbs can be said to represent the original stage of Dravidian verbs (though Old Malayalam did have verbal person suffixes at some point).[9] Person suffixes in Beary Bashe closely resemble those of Tulu,[9] although the past tense in this dialect agrees with that of standard Malayalam in shape as well as in the distribution of allomorphs.[9]

Arabic influence

Beary Bashe is strongly influenced by the Arabic language.[10] Nativised Arabic words are very common in everyday speech, especially in coastal areas. Beary Bashe also has words related to Tamil and Malayalam. Tamil and Malayalam Speakers can understand Beary up to an extent of 75%.

Beary Arabic English
saan ṣaḥn
pinjhana finjān
kayeen nikāḥ
Seithaan Šayṭān
Evil spirit
patthre faṭīra
Kalbu qalb
Rabbu rabb
Supra sufra
Dining Mat
Kubboosu ḵubz

Beary language films

The first Beary-language feature film Byari shared the award for the best feature film at the 59th Indian National Film Awards.[11]

See also