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Malayalam Related Topics

[See instructions to install an old orthography Malayalam Unicode font which is required to read the posts below]
 

Evolution & Confusion of ല്‍

For Sanskrit words used Malayalam, ത is pronounced as it is, only when a vowel or semi-vowel comes after it. For all other occasions, it is pronounced as ല.

An example would be ഉത്സവം. Eventhough, its Sanskrit originated form is ഉത്‌സവം, it is pronounced in Malayalam as ഉല്‌സവം.

This means, chillu form of ത should be pronouced as if it is chillu form of ല. Thus ല്‍ is in a very curious situation:

Grapheme level: Graphically it is chillu of ത.
Character level: It can represent either of the characters - ത or ല.
Phoneme level: Its pronounciation is the chillu of ല.

Reference: കേരളപാണിനീയം, പീഠിക - A. R. Raja Raja Varma

Comments:
Hi Cibu,

I rememeber one of my teacher telling there were two ന (s) in old malayalam, to produce both ന sounds of നനഞ്ഞു. But later they were merged (I think the first one stayed and actual second one was lost, in that case there is also a problem in Chill of ന).
Do you have a way to check evolution of ന and its chill, if you can find somebody who is doing research on old Malayalam then it will be great.

As Malayalam came from Tamil and Sanskrit, we can check Tamil. See Tamil Wiktionary. In Tamil there are two ന (s)
1. ந after த (த is Tamil ത)
2. ன the last letter in Tamil

Usage examples...
நான் - നാന് (means I, me etc, sounds with same order of ന(s) in നനഞ്ഞു)
நடனம் - നടനമ് (നടനം)

other examples of ந
இந்த - ഇന്ത (this)
நீராவி - നീരാവി
முந்திய - മുന്തിയ

other examples of ன
சனி - ചനി (ശനി)
ஜனவரி - ജനവരി
 
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