Tamil Heritage

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 7 22:51:37 UTC 1999

Ganesan writes :

>   Tamil grammar books does not have letters like
>  ha or ga or gha. The "ha" letter you are writing about is the
>  grantha letter used to write Sanskrit in Tamil Nadu.

>   Tamil letter, "k" is pronounced as k or g or h depending
>  on its position in a word.

So since Tamil grammer has no alphabet for "ha", there's no way
any Tamil grammer book would have been able to state what you
claim, for the simple fact that they could not express the "ha"
in writing.

How does a language develop? How is its grammer structured?

Obviously, the base is the use - the way it's used by the people,
the way the words are pronounced. So if as per the recent posts,
there exists so many words which are pronounced with a "ha",
how can early Tamil grammarians have failed to create a Tamil
alphabet for "ha"? Would they have left it in an ambiguous way
as explained by Ganesan - that as per the context "ka" should
be spelt as "ha", which bears no relation to it by sound - if
that's the rule then "ka" can be pronounced as "la", "ma" or
anything whatsoever. There would be no logic to it. This hardly
points to systematic thought, which cannot be unfairly attributed
to TolkAppiyam.

Unless ofcourse, the "ha" was never a part of Tamil vocabulary
and was derived from Samskrutam. This has the support of the
fact "ha" is hardly used by lower caste Tamils who substitute
it with "ka" or "gha" when pronouncing words like "meham". And
also that brAhmanas didn't recognize this ambiguous rule to use
the alphabet "ka" for "ha" and went ahead and invented an alphabet
for it.With the increase of brAhmanic and other Samskrutic presence
in the Tamil area, new words would have found their way into the public
vocabulary.Taking that line, "meham" would have been derived its Samskrutic
counterpart. The brAhmanic circles who'd already
invented the Tamil alphabet for "ha" would have used it, while
the Tamils unaware of it would have spelt the word as "megam".
But with the passage of time while the upper caste Tamils with
their proximity to the brAhmanas would have picked up the "ha",
the lower caste Tamils never did.

>In Tamil, "ku" is *not* "ka + u". Actually, ku = k + u .

My "ka" means only your "k" and not "kaa".

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