How many letters are there in Tamil

Tamil: Why it is worth learning the Tamil language and how you should go about it

12 vowels. 18 consonants. 247 letters in total. There are also 8 cases. Many who have heard this for the first time will think that it is impossible to learn Tamil. Even many Tamils ​​here overseas think this way. Tamil is damn easy, a lot easier than other Asian languages ​​like Chinese or Thai. How this works and why it is worth learning Tamil, I'll tell you in this post.

An exciting old language

When I say Tamil is an old language, I mean very old. Can be roughly compared to Latin. Only - probably apart from my Latin teacher from school - nobody speaks fluent Latin anymore, while Tamil is still spoken by more than 70 million people. Along with Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam - the latter sounds almost exactly like Tamil - Tamil is one of the four great Dravidian languages, but compared to the others it has a much more complex literary history and is also less (or rather late) from Sanskrit ( the Latin of the Indians).

The exciting thing about the language is that you don't know much historically. More than 70 million people speak this language, but nobody can say exactly when and where the language originated. Did the language originate in the area around southern India and Sri Lanka, or did it originate somewhere else and then migrated over time?

According to the legend of Kumarikkandam, still sold as true by many Tamils, a long time ago there was a large continent south of Kanniyakumari (the southern tip of India): Kumarikkandam, the Kumari continent (kandam = continent). According to this, the Tamil people and even the whole civilization originate from this continent. It has already been proven that this cannot be the case, but this legend is still often used in Hinduism and also in Tamil nationalism. But also in esotericism, which shows how much is to be made of the legend. What happened to the continent? Unfortunately it sank. Atlantis in Tamil.

In terms of time, Tamil can be divided into three periods. Ancient Tamil begins as early as 300 BC, develops into Middle Tamil (from 700-1660) and then modern Tamil since then. This has been classified as the oldest evidence found in stone inscriptions from 254 BC and the Tolkappiyam, the oldest known Tamil work, is from 200 BC. But what was before that? If Tamil is not autochthonous, then you couldn't even look in the right place, right? So you can research further into history and there are still so many contact points. Relics from the past have been and are regularly found, but correct conclusions and theories that have been proven have not yet reached the general public. We haven't got that far yet, so it's time to get on board now. The prerequisite for this: You can read Tamil and understand it. Speaking Tamil would certainly not be wrong either.

Learn Tamil

But how do I learn the language now? 12 vowels. 18 consonants. 247 letters in total. There are also 8 cases. You probably think that's impossible now. But I'll tell you: No! Tamil is very simple. You only have to come in once and you can learn Tamil in no time.

Tamil script

The most important thing to understand is that although Tamil is made up of many signs and rules, it is precisely this that ensures that there are damn few exceptions or that assumptions have to be made and derived from the context. Take, for example, the 247 letters. If we delete one extra letter ஃ, we have 246 letters. These can easily be divided into 12 vowels and 18 consonants. The remaining 216 letters are simply a combination of vowel and consonant. We have one and one and in German you would write both together and then get one, but in Tamil there is an extra letter for it. Hence the crowd. If you look further and look at the 12 vowels, you will quickly notice one thing. There are two versions of each vowel sound, a short and a long. and would be two single letters in Tamil. So you don't have to think about whether the extended is written with or, you just have a suitable letter for it. It makes sense, doesn't it? In principle, it is even easier than German. At least on that point.

Tamil grammar

There are also many rules in grammar that ensure that everything is clearly structured. There are 8 cases, but these are only used to accurately identify the case. As in German, there are nominative, accusative, dative and genitive answers to the questions,, and. In addition, there are the 4 cases comitive (with whom?), Instrumental (what?), Locative (where?) And ablative (where from?). Anyone who had Latin at school will already be familiar with the term ablative and also notice that the last cases in Latin have been combined into one case (ablativus sociativus, ablativus instrumentalis, ablativus locativus, ablativus separativus). In Tamil, these cases can be recognized skillfully using the endings and need not deduce from the context (which never worked out particularly well for me at school).

Learn Tamil (online)

I have two small and simple pointers on how you can learn Tamil:

  1. First, deal with the letters, memorize them so that you can recognize every single character. That sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't. At least not as complex as learning the katakana from Japanese. Since most letters are just a combination of consonant and vowel, they also look similar and they look consistently similar. That means, if you have understood how to rewrite a for, then you can quickly rewrite a for.
  2. Now jump into the cold water. Grab a dictionary and a grammar book. Sit down and think about what you might need in your everyday life and start memorizing phrases and sentences. And always learn how to write these phrases and sentences. If you have the opportunity, then fly to Tamil Nadu (to Eelam is a bit dangerous then) or you are lucky and have a girlfriend who knows Tamil.

What I can definitely recommend: Take a look at https://learn-tamil-online.com/. I have to recommend it as it is my project. There isn't much to see yet, but in the near future the first lessons to learn Tamil will appear there, an online dictionary and then gradually a platform will be set up that will ensure that you learn Tamil quickly and well.

Do you have any tips on how to learn a language quickly? Maybe you have already learned a foreign language and can tell about it. Write us in the comments and help us learn Tamil more easily!

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