Tamil is a Dravidian language of India. It is one of the classical languages of the world, with a rich literature spanning over 2000 years. Tamil is spoken by 62 million in Tamil Nadu state and neighboring states. Also spoken in Bahrain, Fiji, Germany, Malaysia (Peninsular), Mauritius, Netherlands, Qatar, Reunion, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UAE, United Kingdom. Total number of speakers is estimated to be 74 million including second language users (1999 WA).
Dialects: ADI DRAVIDA, AIYAR, AIYANGAR, ARAVA, BURGANDI, KASUVA, KONGAR, KORAVA, KORCHI, MADRASI, PARIKALA, PATTAPU BHASHA, TAMIL, SRI LANKA TAMIL, MALAYA TAMIL, BURMA TAMIL, SOUTH AFRICA TAMIL, TIGALU, HARIJAN, SANKETI, HEBBAR, MANDYAM BRAHMIN, SECUNDERABAD BRAHMIN.
The oldest documented Dravidian Indian language is Tamil, with a substantial body of literature, particularly the Cankam poetry, going back to the first century A.D. Kannada and Telugu developed extensive bodies of literature after the sixth century, while Malayalam split from Tamil as a literary language by the twelfth century. In spite of the profound influence of the Sanskrit language and Sanskritic culture on the Dravidian languages, a strong consciousness of the distinctness of Dravidian languages from Sanskrit remained. All four major Dravidian languages had consciously differentiated styles varying in the amount of Sanskrit they contained.
Tamil Language Scripts
The Tamil script is sometimes called Vattezhuthu, literally "round writing". This characterstic has partly to do with the fact that in ancient times, the script was carved with a sharp point on palm leaves (olaichuvadi) and it was apparently easier to produce curves than straight lines by this method.
There are some lexical rules for formation of words. Some examples: a word cannot end in a consonant, and cannot begin with the consonant 'r'; there are two consonants for the dental 'n', which one should be used depends on whether the 'n' occurs at the start of the word. The overdot, as in the image, notes that the trailing a is to be combined with the next consonant - that is it is a pure consonant.
This is a syllabic alphabet in which all consonants have an inherent vowel. Diacritics, which can appear above, below, before or after the consonant they belong to, are used to change the inherent vowel .
Tamil alphabet has 12 vowels and 18 consonants. These combine to form 216 compound characters. There is one special character (Aaytha ezutthu), giving a total of 247 characters. These combine to form 216 compound characters. There is one special character (Aaytha ezutthu), giving a total of 247 characters.
There are some lexical rules for formation of words. Some examples: a word cannot end in certain consonants, and cannot begin with some consonants including 'r' 'l' and 'll'; there are two consonants for the dental 'n' - which one should be used depends on whether the 'n' occurs at the start of the word and on the letters around it.
Vowels are also called the 'life' or 'soul' letters. Together with the consonants (which are called 'body' letters, they form compond, syllabic (abugida) letters that are called 'living' letters (ie. letters that have both 'body' and 'soul').
||Dipthong AU |
Special letter ஃ (pronounced 'akh') is rarely used by itself - normally serves purely grammatical function as independent vowel form of the dot on
consonants that suppresses the inherent 'a' sound in plain consonants.
The long ('nedil') vowels are about twice as long as the short ('kuRil') vowels. The dipthongs are usually pronounced about 1.5 times as long as the
short vowels, though some grammatical texts place them with the long ('nedil') vowels.
Consonants are also called the 'body' letters
Also called "Grantha" letters, these letters are used almost exclusively for writing words that are borrowed from Sanskrit (or sometimes other languages such
as English). Seeing one of these letters in a word is a good indication that the word is probably borrowed from Sanskrit (or Hindi) though of course not all such
words include these letters.
|க்||க ||கா ||கி ||கீ ||கு ||கூ ||கெ ||கே ||கை ||கொ ||கோ ||கௌ|
|ங்||ங ||ஙா ||ஙி ||ஙீ ||ஙு ||ஙூ ||ஙெ ||ஙே ||ஙை ||ஙொ ||ஙோ ||ஙௌ|
|ச்||ச ||சா ||சி ||சீ ||சு ||சூ ||செ ||சே ||சை ||சொ ||சோ ||சௌ|
|ஞ்||ஞ ||ஞா ||ஞி ||ஞீ ||ஞு ||ஞூ ||ஞெ ||ஞே ||ஞை ||ஞொ ||ஞோ ||ஞௌ|
|ட்||ட ||டா ||டி ||டீ ||டு ||டூ ||டெ ||டே ||டை ||டொ ||டோ ||டௌ|
|ண்||ண ||ணா ||ணி ||ணீ ||ணு ||ணூ ||ணெ ||ணே ||ணை ||ணொ ||ணோ ||ணௌ|
|த்||த ||தா ||தி ||தீ ||து ||தூ ||தெ ||தே ||தை ||தொ ||தோ ||தௌ|
|ந்||ந ||நா ||நி ||நீ ||நு ||நூ ||நெ ||நே ||நை ||நொ ||நோ ||நை|
|ப்||ப ||பா ||பி ||பீ ||பு ||பூ ||பெ ||பே ||பை ||பொ ||போ ||பௌ|
|ம்||ம ||மா ||மி ||மீ ||மு ||மூ ||மெ ||மே ||மை ||மொ ||மோ ||மௌ|
|ய்||ய ||யா ||யி ||யீ ||யு ||யூ ||யெ ||யே ||யை ||யொ ||யோ ||யௌ|
|ர்||ர ||ரா ||ரி ||ரீ ||ரு ||ரூ ||ரெ ||ரே ||ரை ||ரொ ||ரோ ||ரௌ|
|ல் ||ல ||லா ||லி ||லீ ||லு ||லூ ||லெ ||லே ||லை ||லொ ||லோ ||லௌ|
|வ்||வ ||வா ||வி ||வீ ||வு ||வூ ||வெ ||வே ||வை ||வொ ||வோ ||வௌ|
|ழ்||ழ ||ழா ||ழி ||ழீ ||ழு ||ழூ ||ழெ ||ழே ||ழை ||ழொ ||ழோ ||ழௌ|
|ள்||ள ||ளா ||ளி ||ளீ ||ளு ||ளூ ||ளெ ||ளே ||ளை ||ளொ ||ளோ ||ளௌ|
|ற்||ற ||றா ||றி ||றீ ||று ||றூ ||றெ ||றே ||றை ||றொ ||றோ ||றௌ|
|ன் ||ன ||னா ||னி ||னீ ||னு ||னூ ||னெ ||னே ||னை ||னொ ||னோ ||னௌ|
Tamil letters are also used to indicate the notes of Carnatic music. The notes are:
||Value and Comments
||First note, only one possible value. Sometimes referred to as the
'mother' note - all Ragas have this note.
||Second note, three possible values.
||Third note, three possible values (one of which coindices with the
||Fourth note, two possible values.
||Fifth note, only one possible value. Sometimes referred to as the
'father', though not all ragas have this note.
||Sixth note, three possible values.
||Seventh note, three possible values (one of which coincides with the
third dha). |
The 'values' of the note here can be taken to mean semitones. There is some overlap between the possible values
- this eventually leads to the octave containing 12 semitones, as in Western music. One can see from the names of
the notes that they are borrowed from Sanskrit.
Tamil Unicode Table
|ஂ||2946||0B82||Tamil Sign ANUSVARA|
|ஃ||2947||0B83||Tamil Sign VISARGA|
|அ||2949||0B85||Tamil Letter A|
|ஆ||2950||0B86||Tamil Letter AA|
|இ||2951||0B87||Tamil Letter I|
|ஈ||2952||0B88||Tamil Letter II|
|உ||2953||0B89||Tamil Letter U|
|ஊ||2954||0B8A||Tamil Letter UU|
|எ||2958||0B8E||Tamil Letter E|
|ஏ||2959||0B8F||Tamil Letter EE|
|ஐ||2960||0B90||Tamil Letter AI|
|ஒ||2962||0B92||Tamil Letter O|
|ஓ||2963||0B93||Tamil Letter OO|
|ஔ||2964||0B94||Tamil Letter AU|
|க||2965||0B95||Tamil Letter KA|
|ங||2969||0B99||Tamil Letter NGA|
|ச||2970||0B9A||Tamil Letter CA|
|ஜ||2972||0B9C||Tamil Letter JA|
|ஞ||2974||0B9E||Tamil Letter NYA|
|ட||2975||0B9F||Tamil Letter TTA|
|ண||2979||0BA3||Tamil Letter NNA|
|த||2980||0BA4||Tamil Letter TA|
|ந||2984||0BA8||Tamil Letter NA|
|ன||2985||0BA9||Tamil Letter NNNA|
|ப||2986||0BAA||Tamil Letter PA|
|ம||2990||0BAE||Tamil Letter MA|
|ய||2991||0BAF||Tamil Letter YA|
|ர||2992||0BB0||Tamil Letter RA|
|ற||2993||0BB1||Tamil Letter RRA|
|ல||2994||0BB2||Tamil Letter LA|
|ள||2995||0BB3||Tamil Letter LLA|
|ழ||2996||0BB4||Tamil Letter LLLA|
|வ||2997||0BB5||Tamil Letter VA|
|ஷ||2999||0BB7||Tamil Letter SSA|
|ஸ||3000||0BB8||Tamil Letter SA|
|ஹ||3001||0BB9||Tamil Letter HA|
|ா||3006||0BBE||Tamil Vowel Sign AA|
|ி||3007||0BBF||Tamil Vowel Sign I|
|ீ||3008||0BC0||Tamil Vowel Sign II|
|ு||3009||0BC1||Tamil Vowel Sign U|
|ூ||3010||0BC2||Tamil Vowel Sign UU|
|ெ||3014||0BC6||Tamil Vowel Sign E|
|ே||3015||0BC7||Tamil Vowel Sign EE|
|ை||3016||0BC8||Tamil Vowel Sign AI|
|ொ||3018||0BCA||Tamil Vowel Sign O|
|ோ||3019||0BCB||Tamil Vowel Sign OO|
|ௌ||3020||0BCC||Tamil Vowel Sign AU|
|்||3021||0BCD||Tamil Sign VIRAMA|
|ௗ||3031||0BD7||Tamil AU LENGTH MARK|
|௧||3047||0BE7||Tamil Digit ONE|
|௨||3048||0BE8||Tamil Digit TWO|
|௩||3049||0BE9||Tamil Digit THREE|
|௪||3050||0BEA||Tamil Digit FOUR|
|௫||3051||0BEB||Tamil Digit FIVE|
|௬||3052||0BEC||Tamil Digit SIX|
|௭||3053||0BED||Tamil Digit SEVEN|
|௮||3054||0BEE||Tamil Digit EIGHT|
|௯||3055||0BEF||Tamil Digit NINE|
|௰||3056||0BF0||Tamil Number TEN|
|௱||3057||0BF1||Tamil Number ONE HUNDRED|
|௲||3058||0BF2||Tamil Number ONE THOUSAND|
|௳||3059||0BF3||Tamil DAY Sign|
|௴||3060||0BF4||Tamil MONTH Sign|
|௵||3061||0BF5||Tamil YEAR Sign|
|௶||3062||0BF6||Tamil DEBIT Sign|
|௷||3063||0BF7||Tamil CREDIT Sign|
|௸||3064||0BF8||Tamil AS ABOVE Sign|
|௹||3065||0BF9||Tamil Rupee Sign|
|௺||3066||0BFA||Tamil Number Sign|