An old question

Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Thu Jul 16 11:56:41 UTC 1998

Srini Pichumani <srini_pichumani at MENTORG.COM>
> For example,  a name like [...] karuNaaniti,  even if written as such
> would be pronounced even by the most native of Tamils with the last
> syllable voiced, i.e. like Sanskrit "d".

We have been through this before. In Tamil, if we disregard those who
(try to) preserve the original pronunciation of Sanskrit (not that common),
English (more common) etc words, the t vs d distinction is not
phonemic, nor is k vs g vs h, c vs j, .t vs .d or p vs b. The
distribution is conditioned by context.

The word `madam', intoxication is from Sanskrit `mada', while `madam'
religion, code of belief is from `mata'. Sanskrit accent would be to
pronounce these as `madam' and `matam' respectively. There are those
who do this while repeating slokams etc, but in normal conversation, is
is very rare.

That those familiar with other languages can tell allophones apart is
irrelavant. What matters is how native speakers, espeically monolingulas,
perceive them.


More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list