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Tamil Script

The Tamil script is an Indic script used to write Tamil language. Tamil script is also used to Saurashtra, and Indo Aryan language spoken in Tamil Nadu, and Sanskrit. Only the Tamils use the Tamil script to write Sanskrit. The Tamil script is used to write the Tamil language in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is also used in Sri Lanka. t is currently used to write the Tamil language in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, the Tamil language is one of the oldest recorded languages in southern India. The earliest texts, written in the southern variant of Brahmi, date from just before the 1st century CE. Overtime the script changed, and by the 8th century CE the Tamil script has evolved into more or less its modern form.

The Tamil script has 18 consonants and 12 vowels. It also has one character called the Aytam which classified as neither a consonant nor a vowel. Tamil is syllabic and alphabetic script. Therefore, the complete Tamil script consists of 31 letters in independent form and 216 in the form of combinant letters. The combinant letters are formed by adding vowels to consonants.

The Tamil script is written from left to right. Tamil has evolved from the Brahmi script. However, Tamil differs from other Brahmi derived scripts. Tamil uses the same character to represent both an unvoiced stop and its voiced equivalent. For example, character k can represent both k and g. This is because Tamil grammar treats only unvoiced stops as true consonants. It is interesting to note that in Tamil words which are spelt the same sometimes have opposite meanings. For example, the Tamil word Tosam means happiness and the word Dosam means a blemish. Both these words are written the same way using the Tamil script but have completely different meanings.

Tamil consonants are classified into three categories. They are hard consonants, the soft consonants and the medium consonants. Tamil has some borrowed consonants that are exclusively used for writing. These consonants come from English and Sanskrit.

The Tamil script has an interesting feature about writing consonant clusters. In other South Asian scripts, letters are joined together to form a single sign which most often does not resemble the original letter. In Tamil, however, it is done differently. In Tamil each consonant in the cluster is represented by the corresponding letter plus the virama is placed on the top. This is true for all consonant clusters except the last one in the cluster.

External References

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_script
  • http://www.ancientscripts.com/tamil.html

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