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Re: [WMASTERS] Tamil Renaissance


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Dear friends,

I have no doubt that Tamils, particularly those in Madras, use foreign terms
unnecessarily.  They are mostly English, but terms such as jalam instead of
neer - for water - have been used in written Tamil too.  It is good if we
can find a way to dicourage this practice.  However, that does not mean we
need to get rid of Grantha characters from a Tamil font scheme, since we may
need to use them occasionally. Without Grantha characters, if we want to
have an electronic phone directory in Tamil nadu (in Tamil), we have to ask
a few million people to change their names, or write their names using
combination of pure Tamil letters.  The second option is transliteration.
It gets more complicated.  Tamil is a reasonably phonetic language.  We
should not sacrifice this feature of Tamil.  Besides, using combination of
characters to represent foreign sounds, increases the work.

In written and spoken English, we see many foreign words, and I don't
believe that people are worried about it.  Catamaran (Tamil - ),
Shampoo (Hindi), etc.  However, the original sound often gets distorted,
possibly partly due to lack of alphabets.  A good example is mulligatawny
(㐴). We do that in Tamil too.  For example, English is .  Do we
actually have to change even proper names, if we can avoid them?  I hope the
Tamil scientists will not demand that we coin pure Tamil words for all
Botanical names.  It is not worth the effort.  Instead, we should
accommodate the use of these terms in Tamil.  Keeping a few Grantha
characters may help us in this respect.  

Tamil, just as any other language, was not born at a given time.  It is a
collection of words, phrases, expressions, and symbols that 'evolved' (one
may argue that Tamil does not have a life of its own, and some  may even
question the theory of evolution, but I think this description conveys my
thoughts best) over a long time.  Not all 12 vowels and 18 consonants were
created on a single day.  I don't see why it should not continue to 'grow',
taking Grantha or whatever characters that are convenient and useful.  If
there are words of Sanskrit origin for which we do not have corresponding
Tamil words, and these words have been accepted by Tamils, for centuries, we
should simply use them.  If we accept Grantha characters in Tamil, it will
certainly reduce the need to use English alphabets in writting.  I think the
shape of Grantha characters is compatible with that of pure Tamil
characters.  They blend well. 



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