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Any Tamil Experts here??

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fire

Active member
Hi,
Do we have sounds 'ga' (as in gangai if you spell letter by letter ka+ng+kai,mangai),'sa' (as in saraswathi,pasi),ha (as in kaham) in Tamil are not? I know there is no separate letter for each in Tamil. Any idea of the rule that maps 'ka' , 'cha' to those sounds?? Or are those sounds themselves not present in Tamil and we pronounce those words wrongly?

Thanks,
Fire
 

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
There are very few languages which are completely Phonetic. Your post reminds me of the days when I was learning French. The French words which have been adapted into English like adieu, bon appetit, coup detat etc are rarely pronounced correctly by the general English speaking populace. But people who know French and who are bothered about this do pronounce it correctly.

The situation with respect to Tamil is similar. This is true not only of Tamil but also all Indian languages. In Sanskrit म् and म are different. But in Hindi any word ending in म is pronounced as म् as there is no equivalent letter in Hindi. This leads to mutilation of Sanskrit words by many Hindi speaking persons.

The words Agnimule Purohitam from the Vedas can not be pronounced correctly in many Indian languages because the character La (as in Aval (she)) in Tamil is not there. It is there in Tamil, Oriya and Marathi.

In Purusha sooktam there is a word Tham Yagnam. It is written as tham but the correct pronunciation is Thaing. There is no letter for this in Sanskrit.

Linguistics and Philology are interesting subjects.

I am reminded of an incident when my cousin had to call out a name Mrs. Death in a London Hospital. The old lady referred to had the grace to say " It is De a th my dear". Written language has many limitations in expressing the spoken language.
 
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tech_rsr

Member
I feel that Tamil, although a beautiful language is woefully lacking in its accuracy to describe different sounds. The repertoire of words in Tamil is too great for the script to accurately represent it. Often, when transliterating works, this becomes a disadvantage. I am in favour of actively developing the language to include new expressions, words and sounds that can be used to convey the ideas of modern society. I guess I feel that "pure" Cankam tamil as it stands is ineligible to represent the repertoire of sounds which can be produced by humans in conversation.
 

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
George Bernard Shah felt that English alphabet was woefully inadequate for expressing all the words correctly. Shaw argued during all of his long life (he became 94) that written English was very much in need of a serious phonetic reform. I am sure we will all agree. If any language needs it badly it is English. Most of us would have seen Pygmalion.

With this in mind, Shaw made provisions in his will for the creation of a phonetic English alphabet. Please read about it here.

http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1407846
 

tech_rsr

Member
True. English definitely needs refinement in its alphabet. Perhaps English, out of the lot of Indo-European languages is least equipped, having shed a lot of the forms native to German and French. GB Shaw was probably quite correct about his assessment.

This, however, does not mean that Tamil does not require a revamp.
 

Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
We need someone of the caliber of like G.B.Shah.

BTW the Tamil script has undergone a lot of changes in its history of thousands of years. It is almost totally changed from the Sangam era. I was looking for a site which gives the changes over a period of time to post here. I have not ben able to locate any site. The last change was done sometime in late 1960 or early 1970ies.
 
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tech_rsr

Member
I doubt it. G B Shaw utilized a practical understanding of the Anglo-Saxon languages and probably the sounds which were actually produced, to fill in the gaps. A similar exercise can be done with Tamil.

The Brahmi script from which Tamil writing is derived, is quite different from the Phoenician from which the Anglo Saxon script is derived, and I think that a lot of the ground work for such changes may already be present in other languages. Kannada and Malayalam for instance, use a system of "oththu" wherein phonetic accents are given to produce compound sounds on the same syllable. Tamil does have a somewhat incipient system which is an advantage and a disadvantage - it helps keep the language easy to pronounce - without compound sounds. But this simple system doesn't allow greater syllabic complexity. Maybe that is a good starting point.
 

devarajan

Member
Basically English was a language of nomads. England became da centre of power only after Industrial Revolution that took place much later in Textile field.East India Co. exported cotton 4m India. English grammer was written much later. But it 's not da case with Tamil or Samskritham. They were handled by da elite & intellectuals.Since English continues to be da medium of science & Tech. we r.unable 2 do away with that.
R.DEVARAJAN
 

tech_rsr

Member
English, a language of the nomads? That is quite wrong. English shows a great deal of development from the onset of the Roman empire in Britain (1066).

While Tamil and Sanskrit undoubtedly have a long history, English is by no means a very new language, it has existed in different forms, just as Sanskrit or Tamil was not created in one iteration.
 

devarajan

Member
English language

Dear Sir,

My views r. not biased.Latin was da royal langauge for da entire europe.
Even in churches only Latin was used. Most of da English words
originated form either Greek or Latin.No doubt da vocabulary grew up
imbibing many words 4m other languages. U. can't call it a rich language
on it's own. If u. know da depth of Tamil or Samskritha literature
u. can understand things.

Thanks & regards,
R.DEVARAJAN
 

tech_rsr

Member
From what I could make out from your reply, you felt I accused you of bias, which I did not. I didn't say that your views were biased. I said your facts were incorrect. English was never a language of the nomads. The things you mentioned in your reply (about Latin and Greek) were extraneous to that. I never addressed the question of "richness of languages". I only addressed their antiquity, and here too, I never stated that English is older than Tamil or Sanskrit. Please re-read the post.
 

tech_rsr

Member
Dear Mr. Devarajan,

There is no mention of nomads in the Wikipedia article. At worst, you could conjecture that the tribes which invaded England were nomads, which also was not the case.

Anyway, I believe we are taking the discussion away from the original question. So I will stop here.
 
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