Monday, June 2, 2008

Tamil Script – Evolution through the Ages

As My mother tongue and father tongue is Tamil :-), I always feel, Tamil very close to my heart. Whenever I find time, I used to read/write/think about the Tamil language and Tamil literatures.

Recently, I had a chance to read about the evolution of Tamil scripts. Here, I have attempted to present some of my experience.

The Tamil script consists of 12 vowels, 18 consonants and one special character, the aytam. The vowels and consonants combine to form 216 compound characters, giving a total of 247 characters.

It appears that Tamil evolved a writing system from the Brahmi script, circa 300 BC.Later, the Grantha script was employed in the writing of Tamil until the 8th century, when a distinctive script evolved exclusively for Tamil. Borrowings from Sanskrit added some special letters in Tamil which are still used.

Unlike most Indic scripts, the Tamil script does not distinguish between voiced and unvoiced plosives. Instead, plosives are articulated with voice or unvoiced depending on their position in a word.

Over two millennia, it has gone through many cycles of changes.It was really interesting to explore about the evolution history of Tamil language and Tamil script. Long live Tamil !!!

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2 Comments to "Tamil Script – Evolution through the Ages"

sakthi vel said...

Cool Collection Dude

Shriramana said...

Hello sir. A person I know pointed me to your blog item providing scans of the evolution of Tamil fractions. I'm doing research relating to these characters.

If I am not mistaken, your scans are from the Handbook issued at the 2nd International Tamil Research Conference held in Madras in 1968 edited by Caa Ganesan. Is that right? Are those the pages 14, 15 and 16? (Page 16 is not marked with a number which is why I ask.)

Also, can you tell me whether any article on Tamil fractions is part of the handbook, especially on pages 274 and 275?

Thank you!