Tamil pronunciation (was Re: Indo-Aryan Invasion (focussed di

Palaniappa Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 5 01:36:47 UTC 1998

In a message dated 98-03-04 18:44:13 EST, vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM writes:

<< 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. >>

I am surprised that a non-brahmin from Madurai pronounced "taka" as "taga"
instead of something like "taha". The intervocalic "g" is more a
characteristic of northern Tamilnadu. (I grew up in Madurai Dt. with a good
bit of exposure to Tirunelveli dialect at home.) May be his language has been
influenced by other dialects. Apart from this, the phenomenon you are
describing is not only in contemporary speech but has been for a very long
time, from the beginning of writing in Tamil. Tamil orthography has made use
of predictable rules of pronunciation and done away with a lot of voiced

As Srini pointed out, both of you Vidyas are saying the same thing. A request
to Srini. Please do not mess up my name by doing away with "ciRappu zakaram".


S. Palaniappan

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