Byari is a 1000 year old language that is spoken by around 20 lakh people belonging to the Byari community in coastal Karnataka and Kerala’s Kasargod. But the language did not have an existing script till date. It has always used Malayalam idioms with Tulu phonology and grammar. Therefore, it has till date used the Kannada script. The fact that it has no script could have contributed to the oral literature that the language has. It is a non literary language, without any written literature.
It was not an officially recognised language and was traditionally considered as a dialect of Malayalam, the official language of the neighbouring state, Kerala and thus it has always been in a struggle to be recognised. This connection between the two languages reflects the relationship the Byaris had with the Malabar region in the olden days. One unique feature of Byari are the rules of grammar and usages that it has adopted from both Tulu and Malayalam, which clearly shows its difference from the two languages, thus making it a distinct language, though it is not identified as one.
But the year 2020 will forever be marked in the history of the language as the year Byari officially got a script. An initiative of the Karnataka Beary Sahitya Academy, an expert committee consisting of renowned Byari writers, worked for around 6 months and officially released a script which was created by the Unicode technology. The new language script has 46 alphabets, including 13 vowels, 33 consonants and nine numerals.The new 2021 Beary calendar will be published using Beary script and numerals, which will also have the Kannada script and Arabic numerals. The development of the script will definitely be a step for the further development of the language and we can witness as the potential of the language grows even more.