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Old December 30th, 2009, 02:50 AM   #1
Arasu
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Some Tamil Lessons for Beginners (in English)

Here are some basic lessons in Tamil that I found online.

They are pretty good and anybody who is interested can go through them. If you have any questions or need any clarificaitions, you can please post them here. I will try to answer and if I can't any Tamil knowing forumer can chip in.

Lesson 1



Lesson 2


Lesson 3


Lesson 4
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Old December 30th, 2009, 03:53 AM   #2
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Some background information learners of Tamil need to know

Diglossia - Tamil

Tamil is a diglossic language. The classic form (chentamil) of the language is different from the colloquial (koduntamil) form. This difference in the language has existed since ancient times.

The classic form is preferred for writing, and is also used for public speaking. While written Tamil is mostly standard across various Tamil speaking regions, spoken form of the language differs widely from the written form.

Novels, even popular ones, will use (H) for all description and narration and use (L) only for dialogue, if they use it at all. The (L) variant is often only used for dialogue of rural or less educated speakers. Even though all Tamilians in ordinary conversation will use (L), novels often depict educated people speaking in an (H) form.

Regional and caste differences predominate in (L) variation. Tamil in the state capital Chennai (formerly Madras) is often quite distinct from that spoken elsewhere. Due to its proximity to Andhra Pradesh, there are often more Telugu words. Chennai (L) Tamil also often has more words of Urdu (or Deccani) than do varieties of Tamil from elsewhere in the state. Because of the larger role of English, Chennai Tamil also shows a great influence from this language. Of course, the Tamil spoken in Sri Lanka, while fully intelligible, also has clear differences in vocabulary and pronunciation. Throughout the state, a tripartite caste-based division is also common. Brahmans and Scheduled Castes (formerly called Untouchables) speak forms of (L) Tamil with clear grammatical differences from that of the members of other castes.

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/...mil/id/4985978

PS : H - refers to higher variant
L - refers to lower form of the language
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Old December 30th, 2009, 05:20 PM   #3
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Sentence Structure

Excerpt From Wikipedia

Sentence structure
Except in poetry, the subject precedes the object, and the verb must conclude the sentence. In a standard sentence, therefore, the order is usually Subject Object Verb (SOV) though Object Subject Verb is also not uncommon.

Tamil is a null subject language. Not all Tamil sentences have subjects, verbs and objects. It is possible to construct valid sentences that have only a verb - such as muṭintuviṭṭatu ("It is completed") - or only a subject and object, such as atu eṉ vīṭu ("That is my house"). The elements that are present, however, must follow the SOV order. Tamil does not have an equivalent for the word is and the word is included in the translations only to convey the meaning. The verb to have in the meaning "to possess" is not translated directly either. In order to say "I have a horse" in Tamil a construction equivalent to "There is a horse to me" or "There exists a horse to me" will be used.

Tamil lacks relative pronouns, but their meaning is conveyed by relative participle constructions which are built using agglutination. For example, the English sentence "Call the boy who learnt the lesson" will be said in Tamil roughly as "That-lesson-learnt-boy call".

[edit] Example
A sample passage in Tamil script with an ITRANS-like transliteration.


aasiriyar vakuppukkuL nuzhainthaar.
avar uLLE nuzhainthavudan maaNavarkaL ezhunthanar.
vaLavan mattum than arukil ninRu kondiruntha maaNavi kanimozhiyudan pEsik kondirunthaan.
naan avanai echarithEn.
English translation of the passage given above:

The teacher entered the classroom.
As soon as he entered, the students got up.
Only Valavan was talking to Kanimozhi who was standing next to him.
I warned him.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 05:41 PM   #4
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When it comes to sentence structure, most of the Indian languages follow a similar pattern.

The sentence is structured on the Subject Object Verb pattern.

My name is Arasu
Subject Verb Complement

En peyar Arasu
Mera naam Arasu hai (H)
naa peru Arasu (Telugu)

Note: There is no verb in Tamil (also Telugu).

However, it may be noted that in poetry (say movie songs) the order can be rearranged or reversed in Indian languages. Same holds good for Tamil.

E.g.

A line from Kamban's Ramayanam:

Kandaen Seedhaiyai Kannukku Aniayai.
Saw Seetha for eyes an ornament.

Hanuman wanted to convey Rama that he saw Seetha in Lanka.
He put the verb first to convey immediately the result of his expedition. Then came other words.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #5
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Arasu.. Good topic ...
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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg4129 View Post
Arasu.. Good topic ...

Thanks KG.

Marathaman suggested sometime back that I do it. I consented and noticed that there were enough materials already available online. Hence intitated it.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arasu View Post
Thanks KG.

Marathaman suggested sometime back that I do it. I consented and noticed that there were enough materials already available online. Hence intitated it.
Wonder ful. I sincerely feel, As long as you people are there, TamiZH will be ever immortal.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 03:46 AM   #8
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A Note on the Youtube lessons above

I thought some explanation on the slides presented in the slides will help.

The lady tutor keeps talking about formal and informal speech. As we know, formal speech is employed with elders, officials, etc. But, the examples provided were mainly about singular and plural form of the noun and verbs employed in informal and formal speech respectively.

One of the examples provided was:

Yeppadi irukeenga (Formal)
Yeppadi irukka (Informal) meaning 'How are you?'

(In the example, subject "Neengal" and "Nee" have been dropped.)

In the above two sentences, the only difference is in the plural form employed in the formal form as opposed to singular form of the verb in the informal variety.

This is very much similar to Hindi or Telugu.

Ab kaise hain (F) / Tum haise ho (I) - Hindi
Meeru elaga unnaru (F)/ Neevu elaga unnavu (I) - Telugu

In Tamil plural of a noun or verb is formed by adding 'gal' to the noun and also the verb. This is in contrast to English where verb doesn't change with number.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 04:15 AM   #9
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In the post above, I wanted to also convey that the difference in a formal and an informal speech is not merely in the plural forms of noun and verb, but also that one has to be careful with other words used in the language.

Another thing I would like to remind is that besides the formal/informal language, there will be differences due to the language employed is that of literary form (used in writing or public speech) or High variety or Low variety.

I would like to note that the language used in the lessons above is not of the literary variety (Senthamizh) but spoken Tamil (Kodunthamizh) of H - variety. That was the reason why while forming the plural form of the verb (Irukeenga), the letter 'l' from 'gal' was dropped since it is not pronounced in the spoken language. As noted before, the suffix 'gal' is added to nouns and verbs to make plural forms.

The formation of plural form of nouns is straight forward. Just add 'gal' to the noun.

E.g. Meen (Fish) is meengal,
Maan (Deer) is maangal,
Yanai (Elephant) is yanaigal.
Simple and straight forward.

The verb formation is a different story. Because, verb in Tamil is not only used to denote action, it also provides information about gender, tense, number, etc. We will discuss it a bit later.

Before, we discuss the morphology of Tamil verb, one should also learn a bit about the property called 'agglutination' which is found in abundance in Tamil along with other south Indian languages.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 05:00 PM   #10
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Entertainment Relief from language learning

Example of literary & colloquial language through movie songs

Mostly, Tamil movie songs use poetic/literary Tamil and occasionally use the colloquial language.

Here is a song from the movie -Iruvar, which incidentally is Aishwarya Rai's debut film. This song uses a very pure form of the language not normally seen in modern day movies. The recent could be the movie is about the real life of MGR (an actor who became TN CM) and Karunanidhi (current TN CM) in the 50s through the 70s and therefore, uses a high flown language which was employed in the movies of that period.

Many lines of this song have been lifted straight away from Purananooru - a Sangam literature.



Contrast the above song with the one below - a Kamal starrer - Apoorva Sahodarargal. The language is colloquial (of H variety) because Kamal's character in the movie is illiterate.




Here is another song using colloquial language of L variety because the dance form is 'Koothu' which is practised by the lower strata.

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Old December 31st, 2009, 07:45 PM   #11
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Additional info on standard spoken Tamil

Standard Spoken Tamil. (Excerpt from University of Pennsylvania website)

The assumption underlying this grammar is that there exists a variety of spoken Tamil that is `standard' alongside the long-since standardized Literary Tamil variety (LT). This is a somewhat problematic assumption. Many linguistic scholars have approached the issue and have various conclusions to offer; the concensus seems to be that a standard spoken Tamil, if it does not already exist, is at least `emerging' and can be described as that variety that one hears used in the Tamil `social' film, and on the radio and in the production of `social' dramas, both live and, on radio and television, in situation comedies; it is the variety that is used when speakers of various local and social dialects meet in college and university hostels in Tamilnadu and must, perhaps for the first time in their lives, speak a variety of Tamil that is understandable to other Tamils from vastly different parts of Tamilnadu. An attempt to be comprehensible to the largest number of speakers means avoiding regionalisms, caste-specific forms, rustic or vulgar forms, or anything stereotypical of a particular place or community. In recent years this kind of inter-caste, inter-regional dialect has most typically resembled higher-caste, educated speech of non-Brahman groups in Tamilnadu; according to some it is neither from the far north (i.e. Madras) or from the far southern reaches of Tamilnadu (e.g. Kanniyakumari District), but rather from urban areas in the more `central' districts of TN, such as Thanjavur, Trichy, or Madurai. In cases of doubt as to whether a form is acceptable or not, speakers apparently tend to lean more toward Literary Tamil, and may choose a form that is not actually found in any spoken regional or social dialect, but is known from Literary Tamil. Since Literary Tamil is the form that all educated speakers know, it can be a repository from which general forms can be chosen; this is another aspect of what Labov's maxim (1971:450) according to which non-standard languages in contact with a standard one will vary in the direction of the standard. Here it is not in a formal context, but in a context of avoiding stigmatization.It is interesting to note that though some writers deny that ST is standardized in any way, the variety they describe in their writings is extremely close to what is described here. For Example, the variety Asher (1982) describes, though he claims it is not possible to say it represents a standard, happens, not by chance, to closely resemble what I would call standard.
For some, including both researchers and speakers of Tamil, Tamil is not `standardized' because it has not been codified by a committee or a board or an eminent person, or because a standard has not been declared and disseminated by the school system or whatever; or because a `book' has not been written called A Grammar of Spoken Tamil. In fact, I would hold that Spoken Tamil has become standardized by a process of informal consensus, in the same way that other diglossic languages that possess ancient standard literary languages have evolved modern spoken koiné s. It is in fact quite easy to get Tamil speakers to agree that certain forms are preferred and others are dispreferred; there is remarkable unanimity in this area, wherever Tamil is spoken, with the exception of Sri Lanka. The film, and spoken drama groups before it, has been responsible for the evolution and dissemination of this consensual standard.

...........

In fact though we conclude that while some concensus does exist as to what spoken Tamil entails, the situation must be described as being variable and fluid. Individual speakers may vary considerably, even in their own speech, depending upon whom they are talking to, or what the topic of conversation is. These phenomena have been noted by many linguists working in the field of sociolinguistics, and are not limited to Tamil. Speakers may vary depending on social characteristics such as their place of birth, their community of origin, their level of education, their socio-economic status, their sex (male vs. female), their age, their occupation, whom they are talking with, and any other social markers one may isolate.Many people have contested the notion that the Tamil social film is in `standard' spoken Tamil because of the variety of dialects, some of them deliberately used for humorous or other effect, found there. For this I have a disclaimer: I would claim that in most of these films, the main characters (hero, heroine, perhaps other friends or kin) speak SST; other characters around them are `character actors' and use the non-standard, rural, rustic, or other dispreferred varieties of speech, for deliberate effect of some sort. (In fact, many films deliberately lampoon the non-standard forms; certain character actors, such as the famous Nagesh, specialized in this.) Thus the film provides not only a model of standardness or correctness (the main characters) but also a model of speech to be avoided.
...

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/plc/tamilw...00000000000000

Here is an example of literary form of language used for dialogues in king movies (as opposed to social movies) which is non-standard and no more used (except for writing) because it is literary type.

This scene is from the movie "Nadodi (vagabond) Mannan (king)" of circa 1958which was directed, and produced by the actor MGR who plays the role of both the vagabond and the king.

Here is the accidental meeting of the king and the vagabond, who was chased away into the palace by revolutionaries who mistook him for the king in disguise, and their conversation in literary Tamil.




This one is an example of standard spoken language from a social movie.


Last edited by Arasu; December 31st, 2009 at 08:27 PM.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 05:47 AM   #12
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Agglutinative property of Tamil and other south Indian languages

In linguistics, agglutination is the process of adding an affix to the base of a word. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative languages. These languages are often contrasted with fusional languages and isolating languages. However, both fusional and isolating languages may use agglutination in the most-often-used constructs, and use agglutination heavily in certain contexts, such as word derivation. This is the case in English.

All south Indian languages, including Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil, are agglutinative.

Agglutination is used to very high degrees both in formal written forms in Tamil (e.g. sevvaanam "red sky") and in colloquial spoken forms of the language (e.g. sokkathangam "pure gold").


e.g.

sivappu vaanam = sevvaanam
red sky

vellai nila = vennila
white moon

While the above word formation through agglutination seem complex, most of the words are simply joined together with minimal changes as defined by conjugation rules. They are picked up by users during the course of time.

Conjugation - punarchi in Tamil - Sandhi in Sanskrit
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:17 AM   #13
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what could be the correct word for "SkyscraperCity Forum" in Tamil?
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Old January 1st, 2010, 11:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arul Murugan View Post
what could be the correct word for "SkyscraperCity Forum" in Tamil?

மாளிகைநகர் மையம்?

or maaligainagar manram? or if you need sky to be there 'vaanmaaligai nagar manram'.

Last edited by Arasu; January 1st, 2010 at 11:59 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 07:56 PM   #15
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Simple Poem with Cartoon

Pasuvum Kandrum
Cow and Calf

thottathil meyudhu

Vellaippasu. ange

thulli kudhikkudhu

kandrukkutti.

amma engudhu

Vellaippasu. udan

andaiyil odudhu

kandrukkutti.

navaal nakkudhu vellaippasu, paalai

nandrai kudikuthu kandrukutti.

muththam kodukkudhu

vellaippasu. madi

mutti kudikkudhu

kandrukkutti.


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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:53 PM   #16
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Meaning and some explanation of grammar

Title: Pasuvum Kandrum
Cow and Calf

(Pasu - cow, Kandru - calf) The suffix 'um' is added to mean 'and'
Note the agglutination pasu + um = pasuvum, kandru + um = Kandrum.
Unlike Hindi 'aur', in Tamil you have to add 'um' to both nouns.

Line 1.
thottathil meyudhu
thottam - garden, thottathil = thottam + il => in the garden
'il' (இல்) is equivalent to English preposition 'in', Hindi 'मे' and Telugu 'లో'

Tamil doesn't have any articles (a, an or the of English) and unlike prepositions in English which appear before the noun, the Indian equivalents appear after the noun and get attached to the noun itself closely. (Agglutination).


mey (v) - graze, meyudhu => indicates present tense along with the gender (neuter gender) and number (singular).

Tamil has three genders: male, female, neuter. Only humans and gods are subjected male-female discrimination and for everything else neuter gender is applied.

Line. 2
Vellaippasu. ange
white cow. There

Line 3
thulli kudhikkudhu
thulli - spring forth an adverb modifying the verb 'kudhikkudhu'
kudhi - to jump
kudhikkudhu - jumps. also indicates gender and number.

Line 4
kandrukkutti.
little calf.

kutti- little also young one
e.g. naikkutti - young one of dog
yanaikutti - young one of elephant

Line 5
amma engudhu
amma says

Line 6
Vellaippasu. udan
white cow. immediately

Line 7
andaiyil odudhu
near runs

Line 8
kandrukkutti.
little calf

Line 9
navaal nakkudhu vellaippasu, paalai
navaal - with tongue naakku- naa => tongue, al - postposition meaning 'with'
naa+al = naaval (agglutination)

Line 10
nandraai kudikuthu kandrukutti.

nandru - good; nandru+ aai = nandraai => nicely
kudikkuthu - drinks (verb)


Line 11
muththam kodukkudhu

muththam - kiss
kodu - give

Line 12
vellaippasu. madi

madi - udder (it can also mean fold(v), lap(n))

Line 13
mutti kudikkudhu

muttu - to charge against, to hit; mutti - an inflexion to make it an adverb to modify the following verb 'kudikkudhu'.

kudi - drink (verb)

Line 14
kandrukkutti.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 11:59 PM   #17
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Tamil vowels

Please observe the vowels being displayed and also pronounced with a sentence starting with the vowel.




This rhyme has been used in primary schools in Tamilnadu for decades to introduce the alphabet and basic rhymes.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 05:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arasu View Post
மாளிகைநகர் மையம்?

or maaligainagar manram? or if you need sky to be there 'vaanmaaligai nagar manram'.
வான் உயர் கட்டிட மாநகர் மன்றம்! But tamil experts can only correct it.

In this thread we can have some english words that is derived from Tamil.

English word-------Tamil word------------In tamil

Rice--------------A ri ce----------------அரிசி
Congee-----------ka(co) chi(n)(gee)----கஞ்சி
Catamaran--------ka(ca)tu(ta)maram---கட்டுமரம்
Mango------------man(man) gai (go)---மாங்கனி/ மாங்காய்

We can add further.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 06:45 AM   #19
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Thanks Arasu. I'm reading all of this.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 01:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arul Murugan View Post
வான் உயர் கட்டிட மாநகர் மன்றம்! But tamil experts can only correct it.
This could be more apppropriate word...
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