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Re: [WMASTERS] Selvaa's suggestions on Grantha


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Prof. Hart:

   Thanks for your comments !

   You probably have not read my other webarticle at


   or seen my table (charset.gif) at the same location.

   Let me add my comments to your viewpoint here.

@Frankly, I don't really care what conventions are adopted -- whatever they
@are, if they are widely accepted, we will all get used to them.  This even
@means changing the alphabet entirely -- one could argue quite cogently that
@Tamil would be best served by throwing away the present alphabet,
@forgetting it, and writing in some sort of Roman transliteration.  That
@would also solve our problems here!

      I'm of the same opiion as yours and I've expressed it in this
      same tamil.net about using roman (many since Nehru's time have
      expressed this and I've said how it will help in certain other
      ways of integrating indian languages)
@Since that's not likely to happen, let's consider Selvaa's suggestions.
@They are ingenious, no doubt, but I feel they do violence to the language
@and the writing system (sorry, Selvaa).  The reason is the following:

      First we have to admit that introducing foreign phonemes ( or
      tamil phonemes in inappropriate places) will do similar 
      'violence'. Then why object to mine ?

@The Tamil writing system carefully follows Tamil phonetics and Tamil
@grammar.  Traditionally, as you know, only certain sounds are allowed to
@come together.  This system has been preserved remarkably intact -- even
@such a Magazine as Ananda Vikatan uses it most of the time.  Selvaa's

     The key expression is 'most of the time'.  When Ananda Vikadan
     ( even here the k is violence to tamil) uses words like
     'dambam' not only the rule of not starting with 'ta' is
     violated but making the first letter soft is another violation.
     Similarly words like Babu etc..
     Foreign words don't follow tamil system and so there is nothing
     wrong in not following tamil rule when writing it as I've 

     I've avoided 8 unncessary symbols (S,sh,ha,ja, ukara marker and Ukaara
     marker, Sri, and the completely uneeded ksha). While avoiding these
     8 symbols, I've tried to get similar intended olippu effects.

     Prof. Hart, I hope you'll understand the inconsistency in your
     stand. If we really care about Tholkaapiyam, and all the valuable
     tamil literature, we'll certainly know to avoid grantha symbols. 
     Doesn't our vast tamil literature show this ?
     That we can write without grantha ?
@attempts to get rid of grantha letters amount (to me, at least) cutting off
@one's nose to spite one's face.  I would hate to disturb the rest of
@Tolkappiyar by such strange combinations as zcT -- they look more like
@Tibetan to me than Tamil.  It seems much better to leave Tamil letters for
@Tamil words and use borrowed lettered for borrowed sounds.  This ironically
@is far less harmful to the purity of the language (in my opinion, at least)
@than using strange combinations of Tamil letters that do not fit the
@language and have not been sanctioned by its Grammarians.

    I'm also saying that let us follow tamil rules for Tamil and
    change our rules slightly to suit for non-tamil, borrowed words.
    Why do you try to apply Tholkaappiyaam rules to non-tamil
    words ? When we write Jaganathan , are we not using some tamil letters 
    ( in addition to J) ? When we say Gandhi ( writing as kaandhi), it
    is much better than what an average westerners says ( GaynDee or
    something like that). The problem is : our tamil folks don't see how
    their own names and names of non-tamils are mispronounced by the
    English, French and otehr folks but they (tamils) want 'purity' of 
    in the pronounciation of foreign names and expressions even when used
    in tamil. The pronounciation of foreign words also change a lot
    from place to place and it looks a futile attempt.

@I do appreciate Selvaa's desire to represent voiced stops (Gandhi).  In
@fact, I wouldn't even mind seeing the aspiration represented in Tamil (as
@it is in English).  Then, maybe, we wouldn't encounter "Ghandi" so often in
@English written by Tamilians!  G. Hart.

    When used at least a few times, one will see that 
    my proposal is a reasonably a good solution ( may not be the 
    only good solution or the best solution). A workable solution.
    But I know fully well that our tamil folks are not that committed
    to caring for their language and consequently
    as a second alternative I've included four grantha 
    (S,sha,ha,ja) and in addition I've also included Sri in another scheme. 
    I don't see any need to include ksha and in my opinion it should not 
    be included. I also feel that symbols for voiced stops should be 
    available and thats why I've included two diacritical markers
    (kIzppuLLi &  kIziru puLLi) in my character table. Just as
    western scholars use only 26 letters with some diacritical
    markers to represent other phonemes  *in specialized books 
    and places*, I would welcome grantha or letters with diacritical 
    markers for such special purposes. 
    These need not be taught to everybody.
    Do my children growing up here in Canada learn all these
    English dacritical markers for Tamil or Sanskrit ? 
    No. It is one thing to want to represent voiced stops or 
    other such things in specialized publications and 
    another to include them as 
    basic charecater set. Historical, Social circumstances also
    have to be taken into account. In any case, I'm not averse to
    using a limited set ( my prefernce is only four, but Sri can 
    also be used, though certainly not ksha), especially when it is
    used properly. 
    These are my thoughts for now..

    anbudan selvaa 


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