Fortunatov's Law and tolkAppiyar's rules
Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Mon Jul 6 20:47:39 UTC 1998
In a message dated 98-07-06 12:50:43 EDT, vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU writes:
<< I would disagree with this.
First of all, change of l occurs in other contexts as well:
kal vs ka_tka (_t = _r, the alveolar two-tap of modern school Tamil),
nuul vs nuu_tpaa, nuu_tpu (spinning) etc. This can be seen in Tamil
borrowings from Sanskrit: kalpanaa => ka_tpa_nai, alpa => a_tpam etc.
Secondly, in Tamil, l+t => _t_t, but Fortunatov's law says that
lt => .t, without compensatory lengthening of the previous vowel
(palta => pa.ta etc). It is this aspect that I find most mysterious
about this law. Most other changes seems to preserve heavyness of vowels. >>
These objections are easily answered.
To answer the second objection first:
There is no need for doubling of _t or T all the time. In fact, I had shown
examples where the doubling does not occur. They were:
iyal + tEr > iya_tEr
nAL + tO_tum > nATO_tum
Moreover, from the point of view of pronunciation, Sanskrit intervocalic -T-
is closer to Tamil -TT- than Tamil intervocalic -T- which is closer to
As for the first objection, certainly l at the end of the first word
(nilaimozi) may change into _t (and L may change into T) when the second word
(varumozi) begins with k, c, or p also. But there is an important difference
between these consonants and t. k, c, and p remain as they are. But t changes
either into _t or T. That is why tolkAppiyar gave special rules 1.150 and
1.151 to deal with the dentals. So, there is a qualitative difference between
other hard consonants and t in the beginning of the second word.
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