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GLOTTALIZING TAMIL -II


There have been some questions raised regarding the singing of songs in Tamil by Udit Narayan Jha w r t my earlier blog. The reasons for my opinion are mentioned below and anyone, who could contribute on this topic is most welcome to join in.

Tamil consonants[2]

Labial Dental
Alveolar
Retroflex Postalveolar
Palatal
Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɳ (ɲ)
Plosive p  (b) t̪  (d̪) ʈ  (ɖ) k  (g)
Affricate tʃ  (dʒ)
Fricative (f)1 s  (z)1 (ɦ)2
Tap ɾ
Approximant ʋ ɻ j
Lateral approximant l ɭ
  1. /f/ and /z/ are peripheral to the phonology of Tamil, being found only in loanwords and frequently replaced by native sounds.
  2. [ɦ] is a possible allophone of /k/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamil_phonology

The above is the link, where the consonants of  Thamizh are represented in a tabular form  classifying the HA sound as a fricative glottal sound. The footnote says that Ha is a possible ALLOPHONE of KA.

Once we get into the allophones, then there is no certainty. We bring in usage into play. Most of Carnatic music (except for Purandaradasa), was formulated in the Thanjavur area of  Tamil Nadu and the Sanskritization of the hyms are well known. The sounds were essential in the singing of these hymns. However, to say that HA, was a sound in Tamil is preposterous. A person who is in a Sanskritised atmosphere is likely to pronounce AGAM as AHAM (meaning inner or inside). It is merely an usage and not a necessary sound in Tamil. (I’d consider it hilarious, if someone were to say AHATHIN AZHAHU MUHATHIL THERIYUM!!!)

The more basic question would be WHETHER THE WORD AGAM itself is Tamil or a LOANWORD, which was  SUBSEQUENTLY adopted into Tamil, by usage ?

INDIRA PARTHASARATHY on Iravatham Mahadevan’s Early Tamil Epigraphy, HAS THE FOLLOWING TO SAY:-

“Though Br-ahm-i was the mother of all the scripts in India, Devan-agari and Dravidian, it was adapted in a way to suit the genius of the language of the region. There were five variations of the Br-ahm-i script such as (1) Northern Br-ahm-i. (2) Southern Br-ahm-i, (3) Bhattiprolu script, (4) Sinhala- Br-ahm-i and (5) Tamil- Br-ahm-i.

Tamil- Br-ahm-i evolved after certain changes were made in Br-ahm-i to suit the phonetic system in the Tamil language.

Tamil- Br-ahm-i omitted sounds not present in Tamil viz., voiced consonants, aspirates, sibilants, the anusv-ara (.m) and the visarga (-h). Tamil has certain sounds for which there were no signs in Br-ahm-i, which called for additional letters viz. -l, .l, -r, -n.

By introducing a diacritical mark called pu.l.li (dots) three things were achieved: (a) basic consonants in final position were indicated (b) ligaturing of consonant clusters was avoided (c) the short vowels `e,’ `o’ were differentiated from the respective long vowels.”

In any case, purity of a language is essential to prove the UNIQUENESS and the NON-DEPENDENCE on other languages. However, PURITY can never be at the cost of one’s SURVIVAL. If GOLD has to SURVIVE AS AN ORNAMENT, IT HAS TO ACCOMMODATE COPPER.

Like, Anglicization of Tamil is required for keeping oneself abreast of the Scientific development in the present times, Sanskritisation was essential for MUSIC and RELIGIOUS PURPOSES in the past, and consequently when certain ALIEN SOUNDS CAME INTO USAGE,  SOME  HAVE BEEN LED INTO BELIEVING THAT THOSE SOUNDS ARE NATIVE TO TAMIL, EVEN THOUGH THESE SOUNDS HAVE OUTLIVED THEIR PURPOSES.

NEVERTHELESS, the foreign sounds need not be adopted, but the foreign words could be adopted and used with the available sounds, till a word in Tamil is invented and brought to large-scale usage. For example, till the coinage of KANIPPORI, in Tamil a computer was pronounced as KAMPOOTER. Alternatively,we can wait till people become liberal to accept foreign words and and pronounce it the foreign way, for example,  ENVELOPE (noun), was pronounced in English as “en-ve-lep” till a few years ago, but now it is not uncommon for persons to ask for an “aan-ve-lop”. But to come to a conclusion that “aan” is a sound in English is downright ERRONEOUS.

NOTHING CAN BE PURE, PURITY IS ONLY TO ESTABLISH ITS ABILITY TO HAVE WITHSTOOD THE RAVAGES OF TIME AND ALSO TO PROVE ITS ANCIENTNESS.

IN LANGUAGES ALSO, IT IS THE SAME AND TAMIL IS NO DIFFERENT.

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