Tamil Heritage

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 17 17:07:37 UTC 1999

>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.

Truly, TolkAppiyar was a genius in linguistics. There is great logic
inherent and a predictable pattern for pronouncing ta. 'hard'
consonants, k, c, .t, t, p, .r. Example: The  Tamil "vallinam"
(hard consonant) letter, k has three sounds - h, g or k depending on
the context of its occurence, In Classical Tamil (CT) texts,
a person's name aHtai, where H is the Aytam letter of tamil,
is written sometimes as akutai. In later texts (Eg., in
Cologne Tamil Texts Thesaurus), CilappatikAram, Pazamozi, etc.,
iHtu(this one), aHtu(that one) are written in some places
as ikutu and akutu respectively. Note the correspondence between
H and k in aHtai/akutai, aHtu/akutu etc.,

K. V. Zvelebil, Tamil literature, E.J.Brill, 1975
Note on Transliteration and Pronunciation, p. X,
" p, t, .t, c, k are pronounced differently according to their
position: initially , p, t, and k are voiceless stops,
.t does not occur, and c is initially pronounced  as s or sh.
Between vowels, p, t, .t are voiced into b, d, and .d and
pronounced as lax voiced stops; k and c are pronounced as gh or h
and s or sh. After nasals, all stops are voiced into b, d, .d, j, g.
Instances: akam is usually pronounced aham, TolkAppiyam as
tolhAppiyam, kuRuntokai as kurundohey, naRRiNai as nattiney."

N. Ganesan

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

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list