Tamil Heritage

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 6 14:42:36 UTC 1999

>And Ganesan came out with an ambiguous statement that based
>on the context and situation, "ga" is pronounced as "ha". So
>can you please verify from TolkAppiyam whether the alphabet
>"ha" actually finds mention?

Let me try one more time: Tolkaappiyar called Tamil
letters (k, c, T, t, p R/.r) as "vallin2am" ('hard' consonants).
In addition, "mellin2am" ('soft' consonants) are G, J, N(.n), n, m, n2
and "iTaiyin2am" ('middle' consonants) are y, r, l, v, z, L .
These 18 'mey' letters are the only consonants in tamil.

The 'hard' consonants vary in sound depending on their position
in a word. Ie., their pronounciation is context-sensitive and
intuitively followed. In explicit terms, with many examples,
I illustrated the tamil sounds for 'vallin2am' on 6 March 1998 in

Let us take the tamil letter 'k':
a) Tamil letter 'k' is spoken out as 'k' only when 'k' occurs
as the first letter or after another 'hard' consonant in a word.
Elsewhere, 'k' is pronounced 'g' or 'h' based on a phonological rule.
eg.,  kaNEcan, takkai (a small drum).
b) Tamil letter 'k' is spoken out as 'g' when it occurs
after a nasal.
Eg., aGku (at that place) is pronounced "aGgu",
"kaNkaL" (eyes) is pronounced "kaNgaL",
"nAn2ku" (four) is pronounced "nAn2gu".
c) Tamil letter 'k' is spoken out as a type of 'h' elsewhere.
Eg., "pukaar" ( a town) is pronounced "puhaar",
"puku" (to enter) is pronounced "puhu", etc.,
This is a general rule and can be tested in 1000s
of tamil words with intervocalical "k" -> "h".

Note that Mesopotamians called the Indus culture
as Meluhha. One very important clue to identify the IVC language.
Scholars have written articles that Meluhha is cognate
with tamil "Melakam". Like Tamilakam in CT. Note that the
intervocalical "k" in Melakam is transcribed/preserved as "h"
in ancient times. Another instance: mahila/mahIla in sanskrit which is
said to be a loan from dravidian. Compare mahila to tamil 'makaL'
(daughter, woman).

N. Ganesan

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