Draft transliteration scheme on the Web

Bh.Krishnamurti bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN
Tue Jun 16 08:59:13 UTC 1998

I do not care what Palaniappan uses for Tamil. For Prot0-Dravidian, z-subdot
makes better sense. As already pointed out by prof. Antony P. Stone, subbar
is used for alevolars consistently, _n, _r, _t. Let us not confuse
transliteration between Tamil and Proto-Dravidian. Let Tamil scholars
continue to use whatever they want. I appeal to Dr. Stone to provide
z-subdot for the benefit of those who decide  to use it.In my TVB I used
only l-sub-macron, but changed it later. LVRAiyar and French Scholars
consistently used z-subdot. The latest book on Dravidian languages
(Routledge, 1998) prefers z-subdot.If Tamil scholars think that the
phonetics of _l and PD *.z are the same (I do not know on what evidence!),
they can use either of  their pet symbols. While the use of symbols can be
arbitrary, there can be a method even in madness, just like using h for
aspirate stops, p:ph, k:kh, etc. Bh.K.

At 22:42 15/06/98 EDT, you wrote:
>In a message dated 98-06-15 05:12:27 EDT, bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN writes:
><< An aditional reason in favour of z-subdot is how early Skt borrowings are
> represented in Tamil, e.g. u.sa: u.zai, se:.sa- :ce:.zam. Phonetically a
> voiced counterpart of IndoA .s is not far off the mark of PDr or Ta. .z. I
> published a longish paper on the developments of PD *.z as early as 1958
> (Indian Linguistics, Turner Jubilee Volume). PD *.z becomes .l, .d, .r, r,
> in most lgs.Toda also has .s and s(wedge-supra)beside the above. Being a
> frictionless continuant, it leads to y and 0 also. The amjor advantage is to
> match it with other retrofexes and .z eminently suits this. l-macr-b is ill
> suited and is not used by scholars like like zvelebil. Bh.K. >>
>P. S. Subrahmanyam in his Dravidian Comparative Phonology (1983), p. 422-423
>says the following.
>"Different symbols are used for its transcription by different authors: r_dia-
>b is used by Burrow and Emeneau (DED(S) and other works), z_dot-b by Ramaswami
>Aiyar (1938) and Krishnamurti (1958b and subsequent works only in writing the
>reconstructed forms), l by Narasimhia,  l_macr-b by Tamil lexicon, P. S.
>Subrahmanya Sastri, L. V. Ramaswami Aiyar and Krishnamurti (1961), l_dia-b by
>A.C. Sekhar and G. S. Gai and r_dot-b by Zvelebil and Pfeiffer. As remarked by
>Emeneau (loc.cit,) it is futile to argue which symbol is correct. l_macr-b is
>used in the present work mainly because of convenience in typing and printing.
>As pointed out by Burrow (1968b) Krishnamurti's practice of writing z_dot-b
>for this sound in the reconstructed forms in order to distinguish it from the
>corresponding sound in Tamil-Malayalam and KannaDa (this reason was stated by
>Krishnamurti) has little justification since there is no evidence that the
>concerned proto-sound is phonetically different from the corresponding sound
>in Tamil-Malayalam."
>Contrary to what Krishnamurti says, Kamil Zvelebil in his writings on Tamil
>literature uses l_macr-b (eg. The Smile of Murugan, 1973, E. J. Brill,  Tamil
>Traditions on Subrahmanya-Murugan, 1991, Institute of Asian Studies) V. S.
>Rajam's A Reference Grammar of Classical Tamil Poetry, 1992, American
>Philosophical Society also uses l_macr-b.
>The Tamil Lexicon's l_macr-b was adopted in 1936.  Ramaswami Aiyar used z_dot-
>b in 1938. Thus in terms of their history they are virtually identical. But
>l_macr-b is being used more widely than z_dot-b til today.
>If one goes to any library with South Asian collection, the number of books
>dealing with Dravidian linguistics using z_dot-b will be relatively few. The
>number of books dealing with different Indological fields such as literature,
>religion, archeology, history, etc. using Tamil materials using l_macr-b will
>be considerably more.  Examples are John Carman and Vasudha Narayanan's Tamil
>Veda , 1984, University of Chicago Press, Asko Parpola's Deciphering the Indus
>Script, 1994, Cambridge University Press, Rajeshwari Ghose's The Lord of Arur:
>The Tyagaraja Cult in Tamilnadu, 1996, Motilal Banarasidass.
>Vidyanath Rao wrote:
>>For those who know Tamil/Malayalam, the actual symbol makes little
>>difference; humans can get used to almost anything. I no longer
>>blanch when I see z for "s.  But for others,
>>z-underdot may be too confusing:
>I agree with this in general with one minor exception. As Rao said, many
>ordinary Tamils would identify 'zh' used in commonly-encountered words
>correctly. However I have heard them when they come across a word which they
>have not encountered ordinarily, and they mispronounce it so badly any lover
>of Tamil would cringe. I expect the same will happen with z_dot-b also. But as
>Emeneau stated, it is futile to argue which is the "correct" one. My criterion
>would be to choose one which causes the least number of people to change their
>One note about Tamil borrowing of Sanskrit words with "S". While there are a
>few cases where IA "S" is replaced by Tamil l_macr-b, most of the time "S" is
>replaced by "T"  as in meSa > mETam, veSa > vETam, etc.
>Right now when diacritic marks are not used in writing, the word "Tamil_macr-
>b" is written just without the macron  as "Tamil" and there is not much of a
>difference between the two. But, if one were to follow the suggestion of
>z_dot-b, are we going to end up with two different ways "Tamiz" and "Tamil"?
>If the goal is to bring uniformity, this will actually work against it. It is
>going to cause more confusion.
>S. Palaniappan
H.No. 12-13-1233, "Bhaarati"
Street 9, Tarnaka
Hyderabad 500017

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