Hydronomy of Tamil rivers (Re: Again, SANSKRIT broadcasts + M.Muller)

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jun 30 18:53:58 UTC 2000

--- Lakshmi Srinivas <lsrinivas at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
> --- Swaminathan Madhuresan <smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM>
> wrote:
> > I am sure when Sanskritists search the
> > topo-/hydronymy of India
> >
> By the same token, many river names in Tamilnadu
> hardly seem to be of Tamil (or SDr) origin. For
> example, keTilam, vaiyai, kAviri, noyyal, koLLiTam,
> 'kabini'
A surprising comment given that they do not even sound like
typical Sanskrit names.

1. noyyal:
 <? noy = quickness, narrowness.

DEDR #3779: no = slender, minute
noyya = small, minute,...
noyyenal = expr. signifying lightness, thinness
nucuppu = waist of a woman
otl noytu noytu 1. that which is light; 2. that which is soft; 3. that which is
poor, mean; 4. quickness

 noyyal is a tributary of ( ? a tributary of) kAviri and does not run too
long before it merges with its destination river. So it might remain rapid
and slender all along its flow. Those who are familiar with the kongu province
at the foot of the western ghats may throw more light on this river.

2. keTilam (or keDilam phonetically):
The OTL lists the following meanings:

otl keTilam keTilam 01 1. a river near cuddalore; 2. deep stream

otl keTilam keTilam 02 1. den; 2. narrow passage

A sensible etymology, that again exploits narrowness, is feasible right from
these entries as with noyyal.

Now there is also another entry in the TLS (Supplement to the Lexicon):
otl kETam kETam 1. parrot; 2. river (TLS)

It is also worthwhile thinking about other words such as
DEDR 1125:
kaTi (or kaDi) = to  cut away, to dig (as well, ditch)
[Dravidian/IE Nostratists take note]
DEDR #1176:
Ma. kaNTi = gap in a ledge or fence, breach in a wall, mountain pass
Kodagu:. kaNDi = narrow passage, (e.g. doorway, mountain pass, hole in  a
And it is well known that -T- often morphs to -NT- in Dravidian.

kabin2i (kebin2i):
This seems to be derived from 'kepi' or 'kevi' in the same sense as the others,
viz., narrow passage or den.
The  Madras Tamil Lexicon lists the word 'kepi' as
a synonym for the second entry of 'keTilam'.

keTilam (2):
1. English:  den Tamil: kepi

otl kepi kepi -> kevi
otl kevi kevi 1. depth, deep valley; 2. cave, cavern
DEDR #1332:
Ta. kevi = deep valley, cave
Ka. gavi = cave; Tu. cave. hole, cell.
Te. gavi = cavern

Note also the Dr. words for ear(DEDR #1977): "cevi", Go. "kevi", Kol. "kev"
And there is Konda. gibi, kibi for "ear"

These are a quick attempt at their etymologies by me.
I hope these make sense.

>or the Sanskrit sounding names like  pavAni,

It was discusses already in the "vaizampAya" thread.
I had quoted the CT patiRRup pattu passage whre the same river
was called 'vAn2i' (Ta. vAn2 = sky).

> tAmiravaruNi
see earlier posting by Madhuresan.
< taN porun2ai

> Thanks and Warm Regards,
> LS
P. Chandrasekaran

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