Update: 2016-01-20 05:23 PM -0500


Tamil script


by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.) Based on Unicode Consortium, Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR :  http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

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Virama (Puḷḷi) - {a.þût} : notice {La.} in spelling of Puḷḷi
Rendering of Tamil script
Vow-Let & Vow-Sign



UKT notes 
Grantha script


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9.6 Tamil

UKT 140613: Though many of my neighbours had been south Indians, including Tamils, I have alway been intimidated by their script. Though round, they are so unlike Bur-Myan which are based on circles rather than just being rounded. The first lessons in Tamil, I got is from:
The Tamil Virtual Academy -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD16UXVAx7o 140613

See also Grantha script which is derived from Tamil to write Sanskrit. With my meagre knowledge of Sanskrit written in Devanagari, I hope to get some help from Grantha to study the every-day Tamil. See my note on Grantha script.

(p.239, pdf 24/47)
The Tamil script is a South Indian script. South Indian scripts are structurally related to the North Indian scripts, but they are used to write the Dravidian languages of southern India and of Sri Lanka, which are genetically unrelated to the North Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, and Gujarati. [UKT¶]

UKT 140613: Myanmar script can be considered to be quite different in general shape from both northern scripts and the southern scripts. It has 33% commonality to the oldest script found on Asoka pillars. Because of this I contend that Myanmar is directly descended from Asokan, and is not a second-hand hand out. I dispute strongly the modern view that Myanmar script was descended from a south Indian script.

The shapes of letters in the South Indian scripts are generally quite distinct from the shapes of letters in Devanagari and its related scripts.

The Tamil script is used to write the Tamil language of the Tamil Nadu state in India, as well as minority languages such as the Dravidian language Badaga and the Indo-European language Saurashtra. Tamil is also used in Sri Lanka, Singapore, and parts of Malaysia. [UKT¶]

UKT 140614: When we were young we used to know the present Tamil Nadu state as Madras, the province named after the capital city - Madras. And those who came to Burma from Madras were known as Madrasees. The Bur-Myan name for Madras is {ma.da.rup}.

A house built on long posts in which the lower space could be used to store goods, carts, and bullocks is known as a Madras house {ma.da.rup aim}. Putting walls around the lower space would turn the house into a two-storied building. Only well-to-do's lived in such a house. The boat was for family travel on the creek nearby, and the ox-cart & bullocks served as the modern family car.

(I have checked my info on "Madras house" with my cousin, Daw Myint Kyi who lives in Kungyangon - who genetically is pure Mon (Dala dialect - which Haswell has called Peguan). This Mon dialect - the Mon dialect of my Mon ancestors - has completely disappeared. None of us who hailed from Kungyangon, situated at the southern end of the ancient Dala city, can speak any Mon language, but we still keep many Mon customs alive - such as the "fear of a tortoise coming into the house".)

A lot of people of Yangon area, including my birth place Kungyangon, have Madracee blood in them. The Madracees were also known as {ka.lèý} and one them known as {ka.lèý-lé:} became one of the richest men in southern Myanmarpré. You must differentiate the Madracees from Chittagonians who came from Chittagong now included in Bangladesh. Madracess were mostly Hindu religionists, but a high proportion was Buddhists of Theravada faith. They were mostly land owners and well to do farmers. The Chittagonians were in the delta area of southern Burma only as boat-rowers. At that time (before WWII and even now), they were known as {hkau-tau:}. They were exclusively of Muslim faith. Every one who came from areas west of Myanmarpré, including the British, were known as {ku.la:} literally meaning "our relatives". It is a shame to see the back-vowel of the word {ku.la:} "our relatives" being changed into the front-vowel as {ka.la:} by interested parties to suit their own purposes!

The Tamil script has fewer consonants than the other Indic scripts. When representing the “missing” consonants in transcriptions of languages such as Sanskrit or Saurashtra, superscript European digits are often used, so

2 = pha, 3 = ba, and 4 = bha.

The characters U+00B2 [ ² ], U+00B3 [ ³ ], and U+2074 [ 4 ] can be used to preserve this distinction in plain text. The Tamil script also lacks conjunct consonant forms.

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Virama (Puḷḷi) {a.þût}.

UKT 140613: The word is spelled with {La.} 

The Tamil script uses the Unicode virama model to form conjunct consonants. In Tamil the virama (U+0BCD) is known as puḷḷi . The virama is normally fully depicted in Tamil text.

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Rendering of Tamil Script

(pdf 24/47 cont)
The South Indic scripts function in much the same way as Devanagari, with the additional feature of two-part vowels. [UKT ¶]

UKT 140613: "Two-part vowel" means "split-vowels", which we are well used to in Bur-Myan. The first foreign language with split-vowels that I became aware of is Bengali. When I look into Eng-Lat, I realized that it too has split vowels in what we have been told as "Magic-E" or "Silent-E", an example being:

<not>  -->  <note>

The pronunciation changes when "e" is included. Probably you have sung "magic-E" songs when you were young:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZhl6YcrxZQ 140612
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnanlcyRuuI 140612

This description provides minimal requirements for legibly rendering interchanged Tamil text. As with any script, a more complex procedure can add rendering characteristics, depending on the font and application.

It is important to emphasize that in a font that is capable of rendering Tamil, the number of glyphs is greater than the number of Tamil characters.


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Vowel-Letters vs. Vowel-Signs  :
Independent vowels vs. dependent vowels 

(pdf 24/47 cont)
In the Tamil script, the dependent vowel signs are not equivalent to a sequence of virama + independent vowel. For example:

UKT 140613: to be continued after I am familiar with the aksharas.

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UKT notes

Grantha script

- UKT 140614

Though my first language is Bur-Myan (Burmese written in Myanmar script) -- apart from English with which I am familiar since birth because both my parents spoke English fluently -- I know next to nothing of Mon written also in Myanmar script. However, because of Pali written in Myanmar script, I can make out quite a few Mon words even though they sounded entirely differently from the way the Burmese speakers would pronounce them.

So a South Indian script, related to Tamil, to write Sanskrit in Devanagari would help me in my study of Tamil script. Such a script is the Grantha script used to write Sanskrit.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grantha_alphabet 140614

The Grantha script (Tamil: கிரந்த ௭ழுத்து - giranda eḻuttu) was widely used between the 6th century and the 19th century CE by Tamil speakers in Southern India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, to write Sanskrit and classical Manipravalam, and is still in restricted use in traditional vedic schools (veda pāṭhaśālā). [1] It evolved from the ancient Asokan Brāhmī script and is therefore classified under the Asokan Brahmic family of scripts.

Grantha is developed from the Southern Variant of Asokan Brahmi in Tamil Nadu. Malayalam Script is a direct descendant of Grantha Script. Tulu Script and Sinhala script were probably influenced by Grantha Script.

The rising popularity of the Devanagari script for Sanskrit, and the political pressure created by the Tanittamil Iyakkam [2] for its complete replacement by the modern Tamil script led to its gradual disuse and abandonment in Tamil Nadu in the early 20th century.

UKT: See how south Indian scripts are very difficult to write compared to Myanmar script. Notice which vowels and consonants are missing in Tamil script.

UKT: Notice the absence of c2, c3, and c4 consonants in the Tamil akshara-matrix. Only c1 and c5 are present. This holds for every row from row#1. Notice that fricative-approximants, row#6 and row#4 are the same as in Skt-Dev. There are more in the Wikipedia article. Notice. the absence of circularly-rounded {wa.} which are present in both Asokan Brahmi and Myanmar scripts. To say that Myanmar script is derived from a south Indian script is totally untenable in face of evidence from the akshara shapes. I contend that Myanmar, whether it be used for writing Bama, Mon, or Rakhine (dialect of Bama) is directly related to Asokan. My second objection is in the name of "Brahmi" itself because none of the Brahmina-Poannas when called upon by their Mogul Emperor could decipher the script of Asoka.

Go back Grantha-note-b

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