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Plain ASCII transliteration schemes
Amongst different transliteration schemes based on plain ASCII
characters, the one I like most is that based on ADAMI/MADURAI.
In its broad usage, the scheme is follows:
a, A/aa, i, I/ee, u, U/oo, e, E, ai, o, O, au/ow, q/ah
k, ng, c/s, NY/ny, t/d, N, th/dh, nN/n^, p/b, m, y, r, l, v, z/zh,
L, R, n
h, j, S, sh, sri
Adhawin software of Dr. Srinivasan uses such a scheme. A large
number of people downloaded and use this software. I have met a
couple of people who feel very comfortable and type fast romanized
text using such a scheme.
The scheme used by Thomas Malten and colleagues at U Koln is as follows:
a, A, i, I, u, U, e, E, ai, o, O, au, H
k, g, c, n^/jn, T, N, t, n, p, m, y, r, l, v, z, L, R, n _/n2
There is extensive mixing up particularly for Na/na/n^a in different
The ADHAWIN software of Dr. K. Srinivasan (of Montreal, Canada)
is a versatile one capable of accepting more than one form for vowels
and consonants (Adami/Madurai but not Koln). The generalized
scheme allows transliterated form to be written as closely
to phonetic form - something very useful for beginners of the language
and even for tamils when they try to read complex tamil sentences.
I like particularly the use of upper case roman letters to represent the
elangated form of vowels and n^ (instead of nN) to write n^adan^thu.
Using upper case characters in the middle of a word does not bother
me (I have also heard objection to it from indologists) . I am
confortable reading lines such as "n^An thamizh pEcuvEn",
"thEvAram thirumaRaiyil adangkiyathu,..etc
In the above scheme pAtham (foot) is easily distinguished from
padam (portrait) and also from pattam (kite). The equivalent
versions in Koln and Tamil Lexicon ( pAtam, pATam, paTTam)
are very confusing/misleading to me! You have to constantly
remember the transliteration scheme to read text like these.
May be I am a bit prejudiced.
As you probably know, Adhawin happily accepts a romanized tamil
text written according to the above scheme and provide equivalent tamil
script corresponding to a) classical tamil typewriter keymap font;
b) mylai keymap font; c) Adhawin; d) DOE-Pune font etc .
The interconversion works perfectly in both directions. To my knowledge
ADHAWIN is the only versatile software that can provide this kind
of interconversion between tamil-font based text files and romanized/
transliterated text files.
I thought of putting the above info. up so that we can try to understand
different transliteration schemes that are currently in use.
Muthu: can you please list the transliteration scheme that you use
With best regards,
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