Tamil u,uu matra consonants - Orthographic variation

From: N. Ganesan (naa.ganesan@gmail.com)
Date: Wed Jun 09 2010 - 13:36:40 CDT

  • Next message: SS: "Re: Tamil u,uu matra consonants - Orthographic variation"

    Doug Ewell asked:
    >>"SS" <sisrivas at blueyonder dot co dot uk> wrote:

    >> To the point, There are usage samples, there were/are
    >> publications/magazines even run by the then leader of the current
    >> chief minister of Tamil Nadu state.
    >> There are usage samples. Widespread!, this will be done eventually as
    >> with other rollbacks of the past, in a controlled manner.

    >Is this something that is proposed for the future, or it something that
    > has already been adopted now or is scheduled for adoption by a
    >siginificant proportion of Tamil speakers? Can I find out about it in
    >newspapers or periodicals, or Internet locations, other than those
    >controlled by the group(s) promoting the reform?

    >Note that the question is not "Is this a desirable reform?" nor "Will
    >this reform make the Tamil language easier to read and write?"


    There was a political leader called Periyar EVR:
    EVR trained politicians defeated Congress party in 1967
    elections in Tamil Nadu and ever since, Dravidian
    movement parties (spun from EVR's original party) has
    ruled the Indian state until now. EVR was never
    interested in elections, but only concentrated on
    social movements.

    For 75 years, EVR's party magazines use vocalised
    consonants with u, uu matras unligated at least
    in some pages in every issue of their daily newspaper,
    Viduthalai & books they print. Recently they asked
    for the ways how to do this & who will do the fonts.
    Note that there are political parties in Tamil Nadu
    who want to give that option also for the readers
    in their magazines, official websites.

    Let me give an example. A 1982 issue of a magazine,
    called Pulavar. The editor is Secretary, Grand Council
    of Tamil Teachers, India. A 12.5 Mb file:
    (From Pollachi Nasan's library & thanks to P. Nasan
    for sending the link).
    There are many, many examples like this in Tamil script
    in the last 75 years and also in contemporary use.
    We will compile and upload in a website.

    As Universal Character set encoding, this minority
    tradition also needs to get into the Unicode Standard.
    Note the parallel in Malayalam, a close script to Tamil.
    Since both options co-exist often in the same page in magazines
    for ligate and non-ligate u, uu matra consonants,
    it's better to allow this option in fonts with ZWNJ joiner
    of u & uu matras in Tamil script for the user community.

    There is a major Classical Tamil conference happening
    in Coimbatore between June 23 - 27. Some from Unicode
    Tech Committee are attending as well. So, will work on all this
    with experts and officials some time in the future.

    (a) Tamil grammar defines from 12th century, all the
    syllables with matra signs as Dependent letters "cArbezuttu",
    much like what Unicode does. You can compare
    Unicode characters with Tamil word, ezuttu in Tamil grammar
    and sequences as cArbezuttu. To teach to students,
    the dependent nature of all the uyirmey with matra signs,
    allowing this in the Standard and fonts (from Microsoft, Apple, ...)
    will be useful.

    (b) In English, we have both Capital and Small letters
    derived from monumental and minuscule traditions.
    As the two orthographic variants, explained above, for
    Tamil u, uu matra consonants are allowed in Unicode,
    it will be useful to mix these two styles and will be useful
    in calligraphy and rich text publishing. It will break the monotony,
    for example, the headings can be in ligate forms
    but body of a text can be in unligate forms of u, uu matras.

    N. Ganesan

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