Tamil & Japanese

Alec McAllister ECL6TAM at lucs-01.novell.leeds.ac.uk
Mon Jul 3 10:43:04 UTC 1995

>> Japanese alphabets are arranged almost like Tamil (tamiz neTungkaNakku).
>> (in the katakana system?) Japanese script is called Kanchi script.

>The syllabic characters derived ultimately from Kanji, called "kana," 
>(there are two types: hiragana and katakana,)
>_are_ in fact arranged in a sequence that bears a strong resemblance to 
>that of the Tamil alphabet. I _believe_ this is due to the fact that both 
>sequences are derived from the Sanskrit alphabetical order - with quirks 
>due to the fact that (a) a lot of Skt consonants are missing from 
>both the Tamil _and_ Japanese systems, not being needed for either 
>language; and (b) some sounds have changed since the systems were first 
>devised. I have always been struck by the fact that in the place in the 
>sequence where Skt has a palatal "c" Japanese has "s," and the 
>corresponding Tamil character often sounds like an "s" also. On the other 
>hand the Japanese "h" derived from and occupying the place of "p" is I think 

I'm not a specialist, but I believe that the Japanese "h" sound 
derived from an earlier "F" sound, which could have derived from a 
still earlier "P".

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could comment on that.

Alec McAllister.

email: T.A.McAllister at Leeds.AC.UK

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