TamilNet Transcription: Log of responses

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 00:14 GMT]

From: Mahendran Veerasingam
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007

It looks like this seems to be an excellent standard to adopt. However, you have asked readers to put the system under trial. Is there a way that we can download software and font otherwise we will not be able to test and give our views.

Thank you for your help.

Kind regards


From: R. Sri Ranjan
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007


Thanks for suggesting a unified way to phonetically type names. I created a phonetic-based table for the Tamil alphabet which was used at the Tamil Pavilion attended by thousands of people from other cultures. We showed them how to phonetically pronounce the Tamil letters and within a few minutes they were able to write their name in Tamil by following the chart. It was amazing to see how others with no prior exposure to our language could easily use it to write words in Tamil.

I used the Microsoft Reader program to try several letter combinations to get the computer to pronounce the tamil letters as we would normally pronounce. Your table looks good. However, for the vowel "aeyanna" the letter should be "ae" as in the name "Fae" and not "ea". Most English words with "ea" are pronounced "ee".

This is a good start.

Also, have you tried "kural" transliteration program from www.kstarsoft.com. It is free.



From: Sinnathurai Srivas
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007


Glad to see you attempting to trascription.

But the system you are using is totally wrong. I can definitly conclude that you misunderstand Tamil a great deal.

please refer to


and write to me for further detail.

Sinnathurai Srivas


From: CAPital Z
Date: Sun, 29 Apr 2007

I saw your Tamil transiliteration scheme.

I see a big problem with it. The "Such marks precede the letters so that they won't interfere with their regular use in passages." This means the scripting is NOT linear. It is because Tamil script is NOT linear, Tamil is encoded as Level - 2 Complex script in Unicode encoding.

Ex. In Tamil, if you write "koo", the (ireddaik kombu) + (ka) + (aravu). Here the (ireddaik kombu) is an insertion that precde the normal Tamil "ka". This to happen, you have to have complex algorithms.

Preceding a letter means complex understanding of the way the script forms. There is already research going on how to make Tamils script as linear.

http://www.araichchi.net/chiirmai/papers/ madras-uni/TamilResearch-v10-v2.pdf

I also have to agree that making everything in one case [instead of some capital and some small cases] is the best thing in this scheme.


From: R G Nathan
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007

Dear Tamilnet,

Your news item in your web page refers.

From what I understand you cave developed a software to type Tamil using English Key board.

Could you please let me know how I can get hold of a copy of this software that will enable me to use Roman characters to type Tamil.



From: Reverend Dr. D. S. Dharmapalan
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007

Dear Sir/Madam:

I applaud you for your sincere attempt to make Tamil words in the TamilNet website more "computer friendly", or to be more precise, to have the same sound as it would sound when pronounced in Tamil. I am sure it is your intent that folks outside our land of origin will be able to identify the words that once were familiar to most of them, and also to realize that you are talking about the same place they once knew. To do this effectively, the sound of a word has to be put down, whether in English, German or French or any other languages, in the same way as it sound to their ear, and not to ear of a Tamil who knows his/her Tamil well.

Just take for example the word, "Eravur" transliterated (phonetically) by Tamilnet as, "Ea'ravoor". Now, if you were to get a non-Tamil speaking person, whether it's a Tamil or any other who does not speak Tamil, to write down the sound of that word, you would be surprised what they would come up with. It certainly will not be Ea'ravoor". Because, to their ears, the first part of that word, Ea'ravoor" would sound either as as "Aa" or "Ee" and not the word you expect. Take an English-speaking person and ask that person to transliterate the word, "Eravur", believe me, you would write down the first part of the word as "Err" instead of "Ea". Similarly, there are several Tamil names, and names of places that TamilNet has may need to be re-visited to get the utmost out your attempt. It's only a suggestion and not criticism. I realize that, whoever worked on transliterating the Tamil words on the TamilNet website, must have worked hard to come to this point. As I said, I am making a suggestion that you will be the best website.

Just to share something: many years ago, I led a Worship in Tamil in an English-speaking Church, and for the benefit of the Choir, I transliterated (phonetically) some of the Tamil Lyrics into English. I thought I had done a great job. When the time came for the Choir to try out what I had transliterated, it came out in simple gibberish. I could not understand a word they sang. So, I ended up in asking one of them, who a phonetic expert, and someone who was also good in his English to put down the sound of my Tamil words, in the English language he was hearing me, and the result was amazing. To complete my surprise, when I heard them finally sing, I thought I was in a Tamil church. They were just marvelous.

That's about all I'll say here. However, if you wish to contact me on this subject, or wish to have my expertise in helpin gyou in this area, please do not hesitate to get in tuch with me. I'll certainly try to be of some help.

Sincerely yours.

Reverend Dr. D. S. Dharmapalan


From: B Muthukumar
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007

Dear Sirs,

I am from Tamilnadu and I don't know whether there are any differences in the pronunciation of Tamil words spoken in Tamilnadu and Tamileelam. But as you pointed out near accurate Tamil pronunciation is indeed a challenge to English news reporting. I would like to point out certain rather traditionally uniformly followed rules in Tamilnadu when it comes to pronuncing the vallinam in Tamil. I use unicode fonts for Tamil in Tamil script.

The vallinam are ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ??. Each letter is pronunced in at least two ways. They are classified as 'surds' and 'sonants'. As a surd, they are pronunced as k as in kite, ch as in chick, t as in tin, th as in thick, p as in pin and as you know it is not easy to reproduce the last sound ?? using English. But we can stick to 'r' universally. As a sonant, they are pronunced as g as in get, s as in sit, d as in dad, dh as in 'this' (the first two letter), b as in ball. There is an inherent rule as to where to use the surd and where to use sonant. I put them in a nutshell.

The Vallinam ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? are pronounced as k ch t th p R (surd) when each of them starts a word like kannam (??????), chennai (??????), thennai (??????), periyaar (????????). (The other two letters ?? ?? do not start a pure Tamil word). Those Vallinam are pronounced as k ch t th p R also when any two of them occur doubly in the middle of words, i.e, if there is no vowel or other consant in between any two vallinam, like in akkam (??????), achcham (??????), pattam (??????), na ththai (?????), natpu (?????), karpu (?????), karchilai (???????), sakthi (?????) etc.

In this case ?? is an exception. It may also be pronounced as s like in chakkaram, sakkaram (???????), sakthi (?????). Another exception are Sanskrit words. Say, if ?? starts a word, it could be pronounced as 'b' as in 'bala'. But pure Tamil words are spontaneously pronounced as 'p' only. No corruption. But if we are to desanscritize the pronuncation, we may stick to the rule in the previous paragraph.

?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? as g s d dh b r

If they don't start a word and if there is a vowel inbetween two vallinam or if a vallinam is next to a mellinam or idaiyinam, then vallinam ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? are pronounced as g s d dh ba ra (sonant). In other words, in any other case other than the one mentioned for 'surd', then they are pronunced as sonants.

Note the subtle difference between the pronounciation of ?? in saarbu (??????) kaRpu (?????); ?????(aththai), ????? (aandhai) <-- th - dh difference.

In the second case the exception is ?? which is also pronounced as h as in ???? (agam, aham)[holds for pure Tamil words also]. For our purpose we may restrict to agam. Another exception is ?? if it follows ?? in which case it is pronuced as 'j' as in ???????. Except these exceptional cases, the rules are universal in Tamil words.

With best wishes, Muthukumar.


From: Nalliah Sivarasan
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007

Dear Tamilnet,

Your Tamil transcription initiative is a welcome and overdue endeavour. I wish to make one proposal to rectify a historical mistake that has been made in the transcription of the letter "gna". As we all know the letter g has two different pronunciation (god, gem). Almost all of the common words biggining with g are pronounced as in god rather than gem. It is therefore very confusing for a non Tamil as well as children of Tamil origin living in non-Tamil countries to recognise the transcription "gna" correctly. I firmly believe this should be replaced with "nja" in your transcriptions. This can only be pronounced in one way which is lot closer to the Tamil letter. No other combination of english letters give as close a sound as "nja" ti that tamil letter.

Although this seems "odd" it is the closest. However, a compromise might me to replace "gna" with "jna"

I trust you will take this proposal on board and use this in your transcription so that all the Tamils world over change to this transcription.

Thank you and best wishes.

Nalliah Sivarasan


From: Gregory Mora
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007


My wishes to your proposed standardize tamil transcript system.

For your „TamilNet Transcription: automation for trial‰ version, can you add a threat to translate when we are typing in the „Text in Roman characters‰ panels as it useful to type correctly. I mean if it automatically translate to tamil, we can correct the errors when we are typing rather than doing at end




From: Sinnathurai Srivas
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007

Dear Tamilnet,

tried your test system for transcription,

but the correct transcription should be (except accurate vowel transcriptions)

tamilnet is a reputable and responsible organisation.
Please do not mislead the public with flawed system in the name of improvement.

for further details visit

Sinnathurai Srivas


From: Nakkeeran Parry
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007


Firstly I would like to applaud your effort to come of with such standardization. Tamil language lacks the standardization body that exists in other languages.

I have tried the trial transcription system and I believe it works fine. Moreover the usage of 'Bamini' font is good as it is redily available on the internet and it is easy to use.

Hope TamilNet will take charge and come up with more standardized Tamil functional systems in the future.


Anpudan Nakkeeran

Nakkeeran Parry B.Eng(Hons) Leeds U. UK, M.Sc NUS, Singapore


From: Sinnathurai Srivas
Date: Sun, 06 May 2007

I found the following description in a transcription efforts at tamilnet.com

"The variations in Tamil pronunciation for the same alphabet such as k/g, k/h, ch/s etc., are not taken into consideration in this transcription, since such variations are not universal in the dialects of Tamil. Standardising them through transcription may harm the Tamil way of pronunciation in favour of Sanscritised pronunciation. " Re: http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=22013

It is slave mentalitry that prompts for above thought. It is those who do not understans Tamil think in above terms. The reality is it has nothing to do with SK or even SK has no richness in phonemes similar to Tamil. But mostly all Tamils think otherwise but use Tamil in it's rich format.

Take K'H/G
let me say roughly 40% of Tamil K represent H, Roughly 15% of Tamil K represents G, roughly 40% of Tamil K represent K.

mahaL, muham, aham, thanggam,

Take CH, CH2, s, sh, ssh, z,
Normal Tamil uses all of these , more than what SK uses.

Take R/r.T (T as in Tom, as in aaRRam, aaTTam) SK does not have vallina T as in Tom but Tamil do. SK does not have R as in aRam, but Tamil do. SK only have r as in aram (the file) in Tamil aram has different meaning than aRam.

I can go on and on.

Sighting SK is a slave mentality of Tamils to deny the writing of actual/real Tamil.

Iliterates blame SK. Tamil is a rich, powerfull and ancient language. The ezuththukkaL in tamil represent groups of phonemes, Letters in SK represent one to one phonemes.

I beg all those interested in developping Tamil to come out of slave mentality and speak the truth. I beg all to try and ubderstand Tamil before acting to bringout userfriendly utilities.

Note: Especially there is no R in SK, that is why Tamil is also blocked from using R in transcription. For example I'm shocked to see Tamils (Television etc..) dewll in slave mentality by calling many names such as euRope as europe, etc.. Please come out of SK slave mentality.

Look at Tamil as it is. Look at Tamil as defined by Tholharpiar.

Sinnathurai Srivas


From: Marcil Francis
Date: Tue, 8 May 2007

Dear tamilNet ceo
I am happy over the system u are introducuing. I have been using almost a similar code. I used only the colon. and I used it after the letter. I appreciate your use of it before the letter. I have also published A Thamil flash card and a book "Learn to read and write Thamil plus a must words dictionery using a similar code. Available with Poobalasingham Bk Depot or from me . If u send your mailing address I can send one for your reference. In my second edition at the end of this year I may use your system with any modification u may make.

Vowels- Uyirha'l
a - aa - i - ee - u - oo - e - :e is better than ea eg :e;ni - ai
o - oa add oh as in ohm ou This letter will be gradualy eliminated
by using a and v as in av vai intead of awai
:h instead of 'h. I recomend the h to be used with k and g for ka


k g and h We are used in English transiliteration Eg kaaham Mangai Gangai.

ch and s for cha Eg achcham pasa'li paasam

d and dh for da Eg paddam dharmam

th for tha
p and add b for pa Eg appaa bahavaan

'r and have 't for it Eg pa'ravai ku't'tam

ng - 'n - m - n no change suggested

gn add nch Eg gnanam Panchu is better than pagnchu

y - l - v - zh and 'l I axccept your code

r and t for ir Eg neer matam a'ram = charity atam = file

ma'rai = hide matai = deer
koo'rai = wedding saree
kootai = roof

kitantha ezhuththukka'l

ij - j
is suggests 's as s is used as an alter for ch and x asin fax Eg va'sththu 'sarppam
sh - sh
i:h - suggests 'h Eg 'hari

ksh -

s'ree - s'ree

Please add :hp for f sound Eg :hpak's


M C Francis



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