In which Tamil is difficult.

So in the trend of learning how different scripts work, but not putting in the effort to do anything meaningful with it, I took a look at the Tamil, the language of the Tamil people from around Sri Lanka and area. It’s also used to write a bunch of other languages, and the name of the script changes based on what you’re writing.

This nuance would very obviously be fucked beyond recognition by any attempt made to explain it by myself, so I won’t.

So the Tamil script consists of 12 vowels and 18 consonants, and like Korean, it is syllabic, not alphabetic. So consonant and vowel sounds form their own unique characters. About 200 combination characters can be formed, and deciphering words can be a bit daunting as the characters are already pretty intricate, with the hecka swirls and curves. The reason for this evolution is pretty interesting.

But first, in typical narcissistic fashion, let’s look at my name:

Tamil

Looks pretty sweet, amirite? Back in the days of yore, they would write this on palm leaves, so the extra curves would help prevent tearing. It also led to all standalone consonants having an inherent a sound.

Palm Leaf Manuscript

Now let’s take a more in-depth look at it:

Tamil in-depth

hen the consonants have a dot (puḷḷi) which removes them the vowel a sound, rendering them dead consonants. And look at that vowel, that is one scary motherfucker.

A small disclaimer, I have no idea the validity of this, as they have 5 different n consonants. But I doubt you made it this far, so you probably don’t care, you monster.

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