Saturday, November 21, 2009



Colors are interesting... when I was taking beginning anthropology, we briefly touched upon the fact that different cultures perceive colors differently. So, even though you can translate a name, it may not be exactly the same color from one language to the other.

Here is a clip from the book Tamil Self Taught, which does not use the orthography. The first column is English, the second is the transliteration, and the third is a pronunciation guide.

So, now I am matching these up with the written Tamil I have record of in other places. In some cases the words match, in others, they seem wildly different.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On Pronunciation


Tamil pronunciation is hard for me since the vowel sounds are a little off from what I would expect. For example "a"  "அ" is more like the u in "cut."  I have been finding some resources for working on this.

The book, First Steps in Tamil teaches the writing system and has some pronunciation tips along the way.

The book, Tamil Self Taught, does not use the writing system except in the introduction, but does give both a transliteration and a pronunciation for lists of words English-Tamil.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Words about words


I think it will be useful to refer to grammar terms in Tamil as well as in English

Here is my list of words so far:

word சொல்  
noun  பெயர் சொல்
verb  வினைச் சொல் 
adjective பெயர் உரிச் சொல் , பெயரெச்சம் 
adverb வினையுறிச் சொல், வினையெச்சம்
sentence வாக்கியம் 
chapter சமயப் புகுதி, அத்தியாயம்  
summary சுருக்கம் 
to summarize
pronunciation   உச்சரிப்பு
to pronounce   உச்சரி, தீர்ப்புக் கொடு

Other dictionary sources


In addition to the Fabricius dictionary I found before. There is a English Tamil google dictionary function

and the Tamil Wiktionary 

and, possibly even better, a dictionary that has pronunciations!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More Future tense


According to Asher's Colloquial Tamil (Chapter 1 still), Future Tense is used to describe habitual actions, much as English uses present tense. The example:
"Do they drink sugar cane juice?"
Karumbu caaru kudipaangaalaa?"
"கரும்பு சாறு குடிபாங்காலா?"
On to the exercise:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tamil Nadu Textbooks!


I was sent a page where the Tamil Nadu government has uploaded all of their textbooks!

I had seen excerpts of them here and there, but this is where all of them are available for download.

Lesson 1 of Std. 1
என் பொம்மை



Adjectives seem to have some very specific rules. Looking at some translations I found online it is clear there is a change in the adjectives based on the corresponding pronoun.

old in the dictionary is முதுமை
"I am old" was translated as நான் முதுமையானவள் (this is when the speaker of "I" is female I think)
"You are old" was translated as நீங்கள் முதுமையானவர்.
"She is old" was translated as அவள் முதாட்டி

young in the dictionary is இளமை (childhood)
for I, you and she the author wrote இளமையானவள் --this seems to be the feminine ending though

tall in the dictionary is உயரம் other forms:

short in the dictionary is குள்ளம்
அவன் குள்ளமானவன்

Friday, November 6, 2009



This is based on a flashcard set made by a member of livemocha
Some of the transliterations are not quite how Azhagi or blogger would do them, so I am looking up the words and transliterating back into written Tamil.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some basics


Based on lesson 1 from the University of Pennsylvania/ South Asian Language Center's Tamil Site

என் பெயர் ஜெனி. என் சொந்த ஊர் சண் டியேகோ. (Link will open download page for audio, better to open in a new tab)
I was told ஜெனி would be closer than ஜென்னி... what do you think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"What do you do?" Chat notes


The sentence "What do you do (for work)?" was translated to "nekka enna veli seykirrikal."
nekka = nii/niingal (still confused on this, spelling? pronunciation?)
enna = what
veli = work
seykirrikal = you do present tense

So now I have to check with my dictionaries and see how everything matches up and conjugate செய் as well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pronouns, Present tense, Direct Object


This post on Tamil Pronouns, Present Tense and Direct Objects is based on information in Lessons 2-3 from "Learn Thamil Through English" on the Duke University page.
Direct download link to the lessons pdf.
These lessons briefly cover present tense conjugation and how to make direct objects.