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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tamil and issues

Tamil and issues



Chennai is probably the only big city in India where educated natives refuse to speak in their vernacular and where knowledge of English is so overrated that they do not care for their vernacular anymore.  I do not see this behavior in people coming from Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad, etc.  The people coming from these cities speak their vernacular very well, are passionate about it and also possess good English skills.  It is downright pathetic to see the attitude of the current generation in Chennai which prides itself in its ignorance of the Tamil language.  Writer Jeymohan aptly remarked that other than fake "tamil nationalism", the Dravida parties have not done any service to promote the language for the past 50 years and as a result people are also moving away from it.

Tamil is a language which if not pronounced properly even in one syllable, will lead to absolutely wrong and sometimes hilarious interpretations.  Some examples :

1.  If you ask somebody to bless, they better say "vaazh" (வாழ்).  But most of them say vaal (வால்) which is tail.

2.  One must use a vaaL (வாள்) for fighting and not vaal  (வால்) - a tail - to fight.

3.  kaanchanai காஞ்சனை (golden girl) is dangerously close to kaanja naay காஞ்ச நாய் (dried dog)

4.  Crab lives in a hole vaLai (வளை)  and fish are caught by a net valai (வலை)

5.  விளைநிலம் is arable land whereas விலைநிலம் is a land for sale

6.  If you perform பலி (sacrifice), you may invite பழி  (blame)

7.  What can happen in a moment (கணம்) cannot be weighed (கனம்)
8.  And I wrote this using the time (வேளை)  I was idling at my job (வேலை) :)
So it is really important to take time and learn this language the cultural richness of which is no less than that of any other classical language.  What a great cultural loss it would be if the so called headquarters of Tamil (Chennai) is unable to sustain this great language !