[Note]: Tamil etc.

James E. Agenbroad jage at LOC.GOV
Mon May 24 18:37:59 UTC 1999

On Mon, 24 May 1999, Venkatraman Iyer wrote:

> On 28 Nov 1996, Shrisha Rao <dvaita at eskimo.com> wrote (in the
> thread, Hindi etc.):
> [...]
>  >Tamil Nadu is a linguistically homogenous state to a much greater
>  >extent than other states of the South are; Karnataka for instance
>  >indigenously has Kannada, Tulu, and Konkani, all with their own
>  >scripts even, and then there's a massive presence of Urdu, made all
>  >the more permanent by the historical influence of Tipu Sultan,
>  >et al.
>  >Thus it is that the Tamil people are much more liable than their
>  >neighbors to overreact, see "linguistic imposition," etc., because
>  >                                                           ********
>  >they have a narrower world-view linguistically.  However, this
>  >************************************************
>  >should not be misread as general opposition to Hindi in the South
> [...]
>    This analyis, in spite of being too simplistic, is widely popular
> and, is a constantly propagated myth. What Shrisha Rao
> has written in a few postings about Tamil or Tamil Nadu political
> movements in the above thread is simply NOT correct, I am afraid.
>    In the book, "The Phoneme", Tamil grammarians have been praised
> for their brilliance in condensing different sounds into
> few letters whose phonology is well defined depending on their
> postion. Reasons of Economy! This calls for comparison with the
> eminent English alphabet. It is important to note that only Tamil has
> the least number of consonants and was able to withstand the
> overbearing impact of Sanskrit in the number of alphabets, poetics,
> etc., All other languages had to succumb to Sanskrit.
> Dr. Maheswaran Nair, Prof. of Sanskrit, wrote recently:
> <<<As for Malayalam my mother-tongue the
> influence was so fatal that we threw away our alphabet and embraced
> the Sanskrit alphabet. While Tamil does everything with its double
> vargas(ka-Na,Ca-Na,Ta-Na,ta-na,pa-ma) we in Malayalam have all the
> twentyfive. Recently I found out a manuscript of a work by Chattampi
> Swamikal who was one of the leaders of the renaissance of Kerala,named
> ADIBHASA and edited and published it. The book is in Malayalam.It
> tries to establish that MULADRAVIDAM was the ADIBHASA.It discards the
> theory that Sanskrit is the ADIBHASA. >>>
> I would say that Tamil does NOT possess a narrower world-view
> linguistically. In fact, it is one of the most sophisticated
> of all the world's grammars. Eg.,  the 3rd century BCE (?)
> TolkAppiyar's theory of poetics (a cook book to compose love poems) is
> unknown anywhere else (including Sanskrit). Anandavardhana's
> dhvany theory and his exposition on the Natyashastra would have been
> born when Tamil and Kashmiri Shaivism interacted.
> Regards,
> V. Iyer
> ______________________________________________________
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                                                   Monday, May 24, 1999
Am I mistaken in thinking that Konkani rather than having its own script
is written in roman, Devanaari and Kannada?
          Jim Agenbroad ( jage at LOC.gov )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-9334 U.S.A.

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