5 replies

  1. +Balaji Canchi Sistla. Yes sir, Tamil has this problem, which is felt when translating words from other languages. In the religious literature, they overcame this problem in various ways. In the classical period, they converted the expression to Tamilised sounds so that Rig (Veda) became ‘Irruku [இருக்கு] in Devaram. Veda was rendered as “Marai” etc. In the middle ages, the saint composers adopted a mixed style called “Manipravalam” which contained both Sanskrit and Tamil words side by side, and it had its own beauty, as we see in the works of Arunagirinatha.
    The complete range of Sanskrit sounds cannot be reproduced in Tamil; while this may not be a problem in secular matters, it poses a problem in learning religious subjects. Mantra is rendered as மந்திரம் ( mandiram, now a days written as manthiram] But this expression ‘manthiram or mandiram does not give the exact original meaning.[ mananaat trayate iti mantra:] This was overcome in cultured circles by resorting to correct pronunciation while speaking or reciting.Another method was to use ‘Grantha” aksharas to record such sounds. But in the last 50-60 years, such methods are not followed.
    The government controlled education system is forcing people to adopt one style- the govt. imposed style in Tamil. And the same style is followed in English too! Thus, Lakshmi is written as ‘latchumi’,, or ‘Letchumi’, Dakshinamurti is written as ‘Thatchinamurti”, Devarajan is written as Thevarajan. Durairaj is written as Thurairaj. Dilipan is written as Thileepan, etc. One girl with the name “Manaswini” had difficulty, as the school wanted to write her name as Manasuvini மனசுவினி , instead of simply மனஸ்வினி! [This name occurs in Lalita Sahasranamam. How can we change it?]There is no alternative for school goers as they would not get marks if they did not conform to the govt imposed style. When our Tamil youngsters recite slokas like Vishnu Sahasranamam, we can observe how often the pronunciation is faulty, unless they have learned it from competent authorities.
    But those who are outside the system need not bow to this practice. Especially in religious subjects, we have a system of indicating the correct sound by giving a number like i,2,3 etc on the letter so that the letter ‘t’ in Tamil [ட} can be pronounced as ta, tha, da, dha without difficulty. Gita Press, Gorakhpur has printed the religious works in Tamil following this method. T.S. Parthasarathy follows a slightly different method in writing Tyagaraja kritis in Tamil script, that is also useful and adequate.
    Since two generations of Tamilians have been exposed to the govt. dictated Tamil, they are unconsciously adopting the same method even while dealing with religious matters. Thus we see that a magazine which deals with Vaideeka matters in Tamil writes its name as “Vaithika Sri” in English!
    In translating from Sanskrit direct into English, why should we go through the Tamil script, which cannot reproduce or accommodate all the Sanskrit sounds? We can directly transliterate from Sanskrit to English, with proper diacritical marks, if needed.
    I have thought on this subject for long but refrained from writing, Somehow I thought of responding to your note. Please do not mistake me.This is just exchange of views, and not meant to criticise.

    • Sir, I agree fully whatever you said above,
      The one Constantine Joseph Beschi (claimed himself as வீரமா முனிவர், an Italian priest, Christian Missionary in South India had made a lot of mess with this ancient language. He changed and removed few letters in convenience with his language pronunciation (or might be some other reason). The worst part was our Tamil scholors of that time, kept mum when he did all these. How sad. Even today’s governments did not want to change to original but just want to go with as such. The politicians who support Tamil language and pretend that they die for it, never wanted to bring back the original. Shame on them. Anyway sir, this is not the platform to discuss. Sri Mahesh and Sai pl. excuse us.

  2. Yes, but why do we say “Thandakam”? It is “Dandakam”
    ॥ श्यामळा दण्डकम् ॥

    • Well, Tamils to bear this pronunciation problem as they are very much habituated. ‘Bharanitharan’ instead of ‘Bharanidharan’, ‘Devar’ becomes ‘Thevar’.
      Pl. consider my view as view, not any intention of discrimination of language or the people speaking this. This is the great problem with the great Tamil language, unfortunately.

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