Re: Tamil Non-Tamil 2-Dot Visarga

From: Sinnathurai Srivas (
Date: Mon Sep 12 2005 - 13:47:15 CDT

  • Next message: Sinnathurai Srivas: "Re: Tamil Non-Tamil 2-Dot Visarga"

    Aytham in Tamil is a third dimensional phenomenon,
    1/ Vowels
    2/ Consonants
    3/ Aytham
    (Aytham is a modulator. Examples, does glotalising modulation, "q"ised modulation (not q), "h"ised modulation (not h), etc..) (Aytham also borders on the behaviour of both Vowels and consonants.)

    Sinnathurai Srivas

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: ndlogasundaram
      To: Unicode public mail list
      Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 6:50 PM
      Subject: Re: Tamil Non-Tamil 2-Dot Visarga

      Richard Wordingham wrote,

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Richard Wordingham" <>
      To: <>
      Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:56 PM
      Subject: Tamil Non-Tamil 2-Dot Visarga

    > Is there any reason for not adding what appears to be a 2-dot visarga to the
    > Tamil script? While, FWIW, I have no evidence that it occurs in Tamil, it
    > frequently occurs in Sanskrit and Saurashtra texts written in the Tamil
    > scripts. There are three issues that I can see:
    > 1) It seems that some writers simply use the similar looking colon (U+003A).
    > I believe it is regarded as bad practice to use this sort of punctuation as
    > a letter. The 2-dot visarga occurs word-internally in Saurashtra.

    > 2) It might possibly be a glyph variant of ayt.ham. That seems unlikely -
    > has anyone examples of them both appearing, ideally in the same font, in
    > text that is a mixture of the Sanskrit and Tamil languages or the Saurashtra
    > and Tamil languages?


      In the orthodox Tamil, as taught and learnt in the native user's land, there is no such letter named as 'visarga'. But it has a letter taught as 'Aytham' which is never referred by the word 'visarga' Only in Unicode they are referring 'Aytham' by a non-Tamil word 'visarga'.

      There is a clear glyph difference between Tamil Aytham which is with three dots in triangular formation (pyramid) while the devanagari visarga have only two dots vertically above the other nearly same as the punctuation mark - semi colon

      When there is no such letter as two dot visarga in Tamil, if any one uses it for any semantics in Tamil it may be in his/her own personnel whims and may be treated as a bad practice. If the letter in use is Tamil 'Aytham' then they would have marked by a three dot glyph for canonical correctness.

      The 'Aytham is sometimes a misunderstood letter even by some Tamils when they try to represent it in transliteration by 'q' Aytham does not have any phonetic proximity to /q/ at all, while it is almost same as to the phoneme represented by a the ligature 'æ' = 'a' as in bad, cat, dab, fat, man, pat, rack, sap etc. That is the reason why it is referred as 'Tamil Letter Visarga' in Unicode.

      The phonetics of Aytham is precisely defined in standard Tamil grammar as 'Nannuul' as 'Aytak kiTan2 talai angkA muyaRcci' ( transliterated Tamil written in IITS Cologn scheme) i.e. "Articulation of Aytham has its origin from the upper part in exhaling just by opening of the mouth" ( by slightly tilting head upward while exhaling.) The phonetics of Aytham is even shown by an example as 'kæcu' is very near to 'kaicu' in articulation in the commentary of the same cUtram of the quoted Grammar

      ( kæcu is an antique coin of smaller denomination. It was else where shown as a link with the word 'cash')

      We can say that Tamil Aytham is a short form of the compound vowel : 'a' + 'e' = æ because timing of iits articulation is well demarcated in Tamil grammars that it is a letter with half 'nodi' (compare it from normal vowels are of one nodi while long vowels are of two nodi-s) ( two other compound vowels with two nodi-s being 'a'+'i' = 'ai' and 'a'+'u' = 'au' )

      Graphically it can be shown the app.phonetics of Æ as in the drawing below

      If we consider both /A/ & /E/ are at axes in quadrature to each other, then the /Æ/ is born when one try to pronounce both /A/ & /E/ at the same instance. More precisely the Æ has equal bearings in two axes as /A/ & /E/ ( I could not shape a perfect 45 degrees slant line in my attempt of producing an image made from typed characters)
      /E/ /Æ/
      | /
      | /
      | /
      | /


    > 3) Spoofing and IDN. ASCII colon and the Tamil-script 2-dot visarga are
    > very similar. However, would a colon be allowed inside a Tamil script name?
    > The description of the character should probably say something like
    > 'Sanskrit, Saurashtra, not Tamil'. I'd prefer something stronger, like
    > 'Indic languages, not Dravidian', but:
    > (a) I'm not sure it's actually true.
    > (b) Many people don't know the use of 'Indic' to refer to a family of
    > Indo-European languages, and using it would be as confusing to some as the
    > true statement, 'Strine is not an Australian language'. ('Strine' = English
    > as spoken in Australia; 'Australian' = to do with the Australian language
    > phylum.)
    > Richard.

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