Tamil pronunciation (was Re: Indo-Aryan Invasion (focussed discussion))

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 4 23:42:31 UTC 1998

Vidhyanath Rao <vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU> wrote -

>Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>[...] The distinction, at least
>> between k and g exists in Tamil speech,
>Not really. It just looks that way because so many urban middle class
>children are exposed to English and Hindi quite early. Those who aren't
>regularly follow Tamil rules on voicing. As my wife once complained,
>they will pronounce her name as `ladaa'. If you want to know original
>Tamil phonology, you should visit the villages in the heartland of TN,
>not talk to middleclass people in Madras, or totally wrongly, consult
>those who grew up outside TN.

Well, I grew up in Bombay, so I'll not quote myself as an example. I
used to attend Tamil classes at the Bombay Tamil Sangam, where the
teacher had recently moved to Bombay from Madurai. He knew no Sanskrit,
and very little Hindi or Marathi, and he was not a Brahmin.

In the kuRaL, kaRka kacaTaRa kaRpavai kaRRapin niRka ataRkut taka, my
Tamil teacher distinctly enunciated D (for T), d (for t) and g (for k).
And his pronunciation of the word "english" was something like "inkilis"
- where k was substituted for g - suggesting that his English
pronunciation was affected by his native Tamil, and not the other way
round. Although this is anecdotal evidence, and the sounds are not in
the initial position, my impression is that contemporary Tamil speech
makes the necessary distinctions, although the script does not, and that
this phenomenon is not limited to Brahmin speech.


Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list