Uniform transliteration of Brahmic scripts

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at math.ohio-state.edu
Mon Nov 18 22:10:59 UTC 1996

> Dravidian: velar fricative      alveolars
> P:              z(/.)          r(/-)  n(/-) 
> C1:             .z             _r     _n  
> C2:             z              _r     _n 

Does this mean that the Tamil word for fruit  is to transcribed as

If so, this transliteration is ill-advised. It seems that the most
common transliteration is r with two dots underneath. Hock quotes
Krishnamurti as saying that the transcription as .z (and presumably also
zh) `is without strong empirical evidence'. And in my 19 years in
Tamil Nadu, I did not hear it pronounced as a voiced sibilant (as the
transcription suggests) and seldom as a velar fricative. (Though
collapsing it with l, L or y is fairly common).

Can any one tell me how this transcription started. The first time
I saw `tamizh', I burst out laughing because I thought that that the
`zh' was to be pronounced like the Russian letter usually transliterated
as `zh' . I couldn't figure out who came with that one.

> (4)R. Caldwell distinguishes Tam aytam (velar fricative) from visarga.

There is seldom much call for the aytam in Modern Tamil (except that
in borrowed words, `f' is transcribed with aytam+p). But I remember it
as being basically like jiivhamuulya. (And I thought that that was a
velar fricative).

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