Re: Unicode code points of Tamil Grantham conjunct SRI

From: Poopathi Manickam (
Date: Sun May 01 2005 - 11:54:26 CDT

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    This is story to me..!

    Care to explain a bit more about the letter-ஃ Tamil aay'dham
    and its "alleged" derivation from the Sanskrit's aa'sritha..?

    Btw.. As we all know..
    In Tamil.. Aharam, Aa-haram. e-haram, ee-haaram, u-haram.. uu-haaram....
    and it goes until Aaydham and it's very unique 'letter' (unlike 'visarga' )
    and is pronounced slightly differently from Sanskrit.

    Poopathi S. Manickam

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "N. Ganesan" <>
    To: "Unicode List" <>
    Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 6:54 AM
    Subject: Unicode code points of Tamil Grantham conjunct SRI

    > Unicode code points of Tamil Grantham conjunct SRI
    > --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Some may recall in the list about the last month discussions on
    > Visarga and Aaytham,
    > the intricate relationship between them as recorded in scholarly
    > publications,
    > and even the word itself, aaytham deriving from a visarga term, aa'srita
    > of Sanskrit, aaytham is quite different from aayutham 'weapon' etc.,
    > Mentions and mails
    > with unattested words like VisargaL etc., seem to have abated.
    > -------
    > Likewise, it was felt essential to tell about the basic Unicode code
    > points of Sanskrit
    > term, SRI as used in all of India, and its Tamil Grantham codepoints.
    > The Unicode-accepted proposal on sha (U+0bb6) correctly
    > identifies SRI as being <0BB6, 0BCD, 0BB0, 0BC0>. It mentions SRI
    > ligature being made up of U+0bb6 prominently:
    > Section 2.3 explicitly mentions the use of U+0bb8 in SRI ligature as
    > *incorrect*.
    > The review document with WG02 (Unicode) document
    > number is n2618,
    > which talks about SRI and its component sha (0bb6).
    > The WG02 document clearly specifies why
    > sha (0bb6) is needed for Tamil:
    > "ISCII included letters for {Ss}, {s}, {h}
    > but left out the letter for {sh} in Tamil. This
    > resulted in a major deficiency in the code
    > - for instance, there is no way of representing
    > the backing string of a very important 'akshara' in
    > the language viz., {SRI}".
    > I hear often that sometimes SRI is written
    > differently. Yes, 100% agreed. Tamil nativizes the borrowed
    > loan words and letters of Sanskrit Grantham letters,
    > conjuncts differently. In fact, it is one yardstick
    > used by linguistics specialists to show that
    > a particular word is a borrowal in a language.
    > Take the conjunct, kSha (Thank God, Unicode
    > does not give it a separate code point unlike
    > hacked encodings). kSha is tamilized in various
    > ways: -kk-, -cc-, -Tc- and so on, with additinal
    > operative rule that word initially, kSha- will
    > become k-, or c-. Likewise, Sri ligature is tamilized
    > in many ways: eg., tiru or cirii (long standing usage.
    > See Azhvar paasuams) or something else.
    > But these nativization attempts differ from
    > person to person, time to time, district to district.
    > In English script, SRI conjunct is written in mulptiple
    > ways: sri, srii, sri_with_a_macron, s(acute)ri(macron),
    > sree, shree. shrii, shri, ... As we know well, Tamil script
    > also can do different attempts at nativization of the
    > loan word, SRI from Sanskrit. Like cirii, cii (ciitaran,
    > ciivalappEri, a town in Tinnevelly dist. a movie
    > was ciivalappEri paaNDi. ciivalan < srivallabhan),
    > siri, sirii, ... all these r can be replaced with R by some,
    > also s(0bb6) can also be replaced with 0bb8, 0bb7 and so on.
    > So many combinations and permutations, a bewildering array, is
    > possible. These tamilizing attempts can be seen in nonconjunct
    > and conjunct ksha also: -Tc-, -kk-, -cc-, with additional
    > operative rule that word-initial consonants in Tamil
    > words will be elided.
    > I wrote a letter to Sri. Kalyan, (Project Madurai)
    > explaining the need to use the
    > correct code point for the Tamil
    > Grantha ligature, SRI as
    > <U+0BB6, U+0BCD, U+0BB0, U+0BC0> ,
    > These code points and their equivalents
    > are used not just in Tamil but through out
    > India to produce the conjunct Shree
    > (whatever the Indic script may be).
    > Hence, *definition* of Sanskrit Grantham ligature:
    > SRI = <0BB6, 0BCD, 0BB0, 0BC0>
    > This is used all across India.
    > Hence, my recommendation is to use this long standing
    > usage in the future documents.
    > Hope this helps,
    > Naga Ganesan, Ph.D.

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