Tamil Heritage

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 7 18:09:28 UTC 1999

Thanks for the explanation. But I would like to point out

>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.

Yes, I'm familiar with vallinam, mellinam and idaiyinam.
But even as you say they are the only consonants in

>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".

As you say nAngu (four) though spelt as nAnku, is pronounced
with the "gha - ghu". Note that there's no alphabet in Tamizh for
"gha - ghu". In nAngu, the "ku" - ka + u, is used for spelling.

Also note that though the "ka" has similarity with "gha" in
terms of sound, "ka" has no such similarity with "ha".

Again the "ha" has an explicit alphabet in Tamizh unlike "gha"
(the "u" is clubbed with "Ra" to give the "ha").
And meham (cloud) and puhAr is also pronounced as megham and

So the question is whether TolkApiyam actually puts down specifically
what you say - that "ka" can be according to the context pronounced
as "ha". Then if so, it would have to use the "ha" alphabet to specify
so. Does it?

But then, what would be the point in doing so, when the alphabet "ha"
already exists? It could have used the "ha" in meham, instead of saying that
the spelling is "mekam" but the pronounciation is "meham".
This was my question all along, but I guess I wasn't really clear
- is the TolkAppiyam aware of the alphabet "ha"?

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

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list