Thoughts on Sanskritization

Mon May 12 20:01:28 UTC 1997

                       Re: Thoughts on Sanskritization

Dr. Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

+ Shouldn't we be distinguishing between the script used for writing a
+ language from the language as a spoken entity? Does anyone *pronounce*
+ gan(g)gaikoNDacOzhan as kan(g)kaikoNTacOzhan? Surely, Tamil speakers
+ distinguish between k and g in speech, although not in writing. Similarly,
+ the sounds s and S frequently occur in speech, although the script allows
+ strictly only for c (e.g. sol/Sol as variants of col). 

Sure. all Tamil speakers in villages, knowing no other
language,  tell my name as "kaNEsan" and not as "gaNEsan".
In Tamil, "ka+ng+kai" is pronounced as "kangai"
So, it is "kangaikoNDacOzhan". "Ganga" is pronounced
as "Gangai", only if the speaker knows that in Sanskrit
or other Indic languages, it is so.

Tamil grammar starting from TolkAppiyam allows for distinguishing
between "k" and "g", (but kh and gh etc., sounds are alien to Tamil)
"p" and "b", etc., in pronunciation. According to the rules,
when the hard consonants occur once in the word, in positions
other than as first letter, they are pronounced 'soft'.
For the doubling 'hard' consonants, it is pronounced
as  written, (ie 'hard'). BUT hard consonants do not get pronouced
soft when they are the first letters of the word.
The rule is simple and always followed intuitively.

                        Pronounced as
ka + ng +kai (Ganges)    kangai
taa + k + ka +m          taakkam (impact)
pa + nj + cu (cotton)    panju
e + c + ca +m            eccam (remainder)
vii + Tu (home)          viiDu
O + T + Tu               OTTu (drive)
vi+ tai (seed)           vidai
vi +t + tai              vittai (vidyA)  
a + m + pu (arrow)       ambu                            
ka + m + pa + n          kamban, a great poet
a + p + pa + n           appan, dad or a dear person
and so on.

"k" as a non-first letter of a word and for single 
occurence, has other sounds too, eg., pi + Ra + ku (piRaku = later)
is pronounced as "piRahu".

++ c, T, t, p. Tamil resistance to include
++ these additional characters is because it would lead to excessive use
++ of Sanskrit words and native Tamil/Dravidian words will face extinction,

Sundaresan wrote:
+It is the Tamil
+resistance to excessive use of Sanskrit that has helped it to maintain its
+identity to date. Varying degrees of accommodation of and resistance to
+words of Sanskrit origin are seen among all south Indian languages. 

I agree. 

N. Ganesan

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