Know the Etymology: 3
Place Name of the Day: Friday, 15 June 2007
The sandy village.
Sand (Eezham Tamil place names); Vaal: Whiteness, purity, goodness (Tamil, Dravidian Etymological Dictionary 5364); Vaal-ekkar: White sand of the seashore or riverbank (Tamil, Changkam Diction); Vaalukaa: Sand, gravel (Sanskrit); Vaalukaa, Vaaluaa (Prakrit); Vaalukam: White sand (old Tamil lexicons); Vælla, Væli: Sand, sandy place (Sinhala); Veli: Sand (Dhivehi / Maldivian); Paal: Milk, known for whiteness (Dravidian Etymological Dictionary 4096); Pal: Tooth, known for whiteness (Dravidian Etymological Dictionary 3986)
Village, large village, cultivation village (Eezham Tamil place names); Kamam: Cultivation land (Eezham Tamil); Kamak-kaaran: Cultivator, owner of cultivation land (Eezham Tamil); Gam, Gama: Village (Sinhala); Graama: An inhabited place, village, hamlet (Sanskrit); Gaama: A collection of houses, a hamlet, a parish or village having houses and distinct from the surrounding country (Prakrits); Gang and in sentences, Gamung, Gamah, Gamuge: Island, land, village, hamlet, domicile (Dhivehi / Maldivian)
In today's Sinhalese, veli
means sand. In old Tamil, vaal
is an adjective meaning white and a synonym of paal
. In Changkam
diction, vaal ekkar
is white sand dunes or sandy streches. Vaalukam
is another word used for white sand in classical texts such as Chilappathikaaram.Kaamam
in Sri Lankan Tamil is a cognate of graama
in Sanskrit. Kiraamam
is another Tamil derivate of the word. While gama
is the cognate in Sinhala and in some of the Prakrits such as Pali, it has become kaamam
in Sri Lankan Tamil. Also note that the word kamam
for cultivation land, is yet another derivate.
The usage of the word Valikaamam
as an important place name is found in the Chola inscriptions of 12th Century A.D. It could perhaps be a synonym for ma'natti
or ma'nal thidar
(sandy stretch) by which the Jaffna peninsula was known.
The etymology of Valikaamam is a good example to understand the shared elements in Tamil and Sinhala languages.
Valikaamam which might have origninated as a name of a village, became the name of a region in the Jaffna peninsula. Today, it is devided into five administrative divisions, Valikaamam North, Valikaamam South, Valikaamam East, Valikaamam West and Valikaamam Southwest.
First published: Friday, 15 June 2007, 01:00
Traditional regions of the Jaffna peninsula