puLLi, a "negative" letter

Lakshmi Srinivas lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM
Thu Oct 7 21:12:18 UTC 1999

> We often hear that Indians invented "zero" and the
> mahayana concept of
> shunyavAda. The use of the concept of the "negative
> letter" (puLLi)
> to subtract out "a"s in Tamil orthography for 2000
> years makes
> me pose a question:

It is however clear that Tamil Brahmi itself did not
use the "puLLi". In fact this has been used
incidentally to draw some conclusions re dates for
some layers of the Tolkappiam. Refer, for example,
Falk ("Schrift in alten Indien").


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