Tamilifying Tamilnadu

I hardly read newspaper these days. But one fine Saturday morning (read yesteday) I woke up so early around 7.00 under the luminosity of Sunlight that’s hindering my morning sleep in the terrace. I wandered all the way down and up the terrace in search of fresh air in this pre-summer month!

Finally, located the newspaper lying on the floor outside and settled down with a cup of Boost (Yea, boost is the secret of my energy!) to skim through the paper. As I was turning pages sipping hot boost, the title caught my attention & there started my journey to the fewer plethora of Tamil equivalent words of things which we use in our day-to-day life.

The article started with the following line

It’s a tiny word ––zip. But when you translate it into Tamil, you get a two-word phrase –– izhaivari pallinai…..

It seems that, Tamilnadu government has modified the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act (1947) and it has been made mandatory for the commercial establishments in the city to display the name or signboards in Tamil. Well that that was a good initiative for Tamil valarthufying. But in reality how can it help?

So these are the exact words which we are supposed to use in the conversation.

1. Alarm Time Piece – Alari Kadigaram

Imagine yourself entering a clock shop and the shopkeeper beckons in. You flamboyantly open your mouth to emit the following words.

Customer: “Unga kitta Alari Kadigaram irukka?”

Shopkeeper: ????!!!??

The immediate reaction from the shopkeeper would be

Sariyana kalanda case pola” or to be more precise in the layman language, “Sariyaana loosu pola

If at all, we can see the shop keeper alari-adichu-odifying out of the shop away from you.

2. And Sons – Matrum Magangal

Now we see that many commercial establishments in Chennai is/are named with the suffix & sons. If the government intendeds to change then they have to bear in mind that that they have to train people who are going to suffer awkwardness in using such phrases.

Imagine the following list in pure Tamil (http://www.google.co.in/#hl=en&source=hp&q=%26+sons+chennai&meta=&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=6e67f0911d014d29)

  • P.Orr & Sons – P. Orr matrum magangal
  • RMKV & Sons – RMKV matrum magangal
  • Madhar Sha & Sons – Madhar Sha matrum magangal
  • Vummidi Bangaru Chetty & Sons – Vummidi Bangaru Chetty matrum magangal
  • Vummidi Bangaru Kannan & Sons – Vummidi Bangaru Kannan matrum magangal
  • Gani & Sons – Gani matrum magangal
  • T S Mahalingam & Sons – T S Mahalingam matrum magangal
  • Mittulaul Lalah & Sons – Mittulaul Lalah matrum magangal

3. Antenna – Kavarkambi

Well calling antenna as a kavarkambi doesn’t look awkward. But still I’m wondering about many of the electronics parts vendors who set up shops in Chennai to earn their daily bread have to get acquainted with these words.

Imagine Ritchi Street shop owners’ state. They have to run in search for Tamil pulavars to translate the shop’s name

  • Al-ameen Electronics & Co – Al-ameen minnanuvial matrum  kuzhumam
  • Galaxy Computers & Co – Vinveli Kaninigal matrum  kuzhumam
  • English Electricals & Co – Aangilam Minnuvial matrum Kuzhumam

4. Icecreams – Panikuzhaivu, Panippaledu

Nothing came into my mind after being subjected to such Tamil murdering! Imagine the Tamil ads getting cantankerous with the usage of pure Tamil words. I was actually translating the dialog said by the small kid in one of the toothpaste advertisement.

Michamaana moonu rubaaila Icecream vaangi saapten aaaaeee translates to…

Michamaana moonu rubaaila Panikuzhaivu vaangi saapten aaaaeee (Horrible!!)

Here is the original video below

How about this one?

Nee fail agala da, un toothpaste daan fail aayiduchu….will be used as

Nee tholvi adayala da, un palpasai daan tholvi adanjiduchu….(ROTFL)

5.  Zip – Iruppal Inai, Izhaivari Pallinai

If a kid is trained to use only Tamil words at home, then imagine such a scenario….

The kid will be saying,

amma, inda Izhaivari Pallinai ah pottu vidu…

amma, Izhaivari Pallinai maattikichu…” (I need not tell u guys where!)

It seems that the Government is distributing a booklet containing the list of all such words which contains the Tamil equivalent of words used in our day-to-day life. Traders have to read and get educated. Heights!!

Moreover they wanted to make sure that such words get popular among the people. There is a desperate need of innovation everywhere and now that government is in need of it in the lines of popularizing the new addition of words which we are ought to follow. Languages are there to make life simpler. Conversation in one’s mother tongue is supposed to be easy and it should give a feeling of native belongingness to the language. But when such awkwardness is introduced, then I’m afraid people may find it difficult thrive in the society.

When the traders are expected to stick to the pure form of the language, then common people should invariable shift to the same. When the trader knew only the Tamil form then it is going to get difficult to the people to buy things. Imagine a dialogue below

Customer: Cigarette kudunga?

Shopkeeper: Appadi na?

Customer: Cigarette nga…Filter Cigarette.

Shopkeeper: Neenga enna kaekkareenga? Onnum purila!

(Customer gets tensed up. He refers to the booklet and finds the meaning)

Customer: Err… Vadimunai Vennsuruttu kudunga

Shopkeeper: Ada, ida modallaye kaettu irukkalaamla?

Customer: Podaang…

So it not only becomes over head for us but also for the new comers in the market who enter to run a business. They need to master the so called Tamil!

(Few other words which was there in the article)

Automobiles – Thaniangigal

Bar Soap – Neel Salavaikatti

Buffet – Eduthun, Magizhndhun

Coffee Filter – Kuzhambi Vadikatti, Kappi Vadikatti

Coffee House – Kuzhambiyagam, Kappi Nilayam

Compact Dics – Padivu Thattu

Exhaust Fan – Urinju Visiri, Kaatru Pokki

Filter Cigarette – Vadimunai Vennsuruttu

Partnership – Pangaanmai

Scooter – Kudhiyunthu, Thullunthu

Shampoo – Seeyanei, Kuliyal Kuzhambu

Tuition Centre – Thanipayirchi Nilayam

Walkie Talkie – Nadaipesi

Nursing Home – Nalam Penagam

Okay, enough of criticism on the language. Actually I’m not against the usage of Tamil in pure form. I appreciate those who wanted to bring this in reality. We are in Tamilnadu and speaking in Tamil is our right and proper use of language is a heartwarming welcome. Already multiple autopsy have been made on the language and it is being used in different ways in different parts of Tamilnadu viz, –  Madurai Tamil, Tirunelveli Tamil and many more. We have the so called Madras Tamil which is the native language of Chennai species. Now this introduction of purity in the language may lead to the formation of whole new encyclopedia (En cycle ah pidiya!) of Tamil.

If in Madras Tamil,

Kafi kuchhiya?  Means Kappi Kudichiya?

Then andaanda keera koyambi kada should be “Ange irukkum Kozhambiyagam” where Kozhambiyagam means Coffee shop.

Do we need such complications? Already many of the Higher Secondary students who are aiming for IITs and NITs are switching to Sanskrit, French & German as their second language, if any attempt to introduce purity in Tamil is made, then I’m afraid, all the school going children will migrate to Delhi & Bombay to pursue their higher secondary education.

In a state where “Indha vaaram malai poliyumaa, Chennai makkal dhookkam” prevails, we are in a situation to secure the existing state of the language. In such a tight scenario, people are very much comfortable with the current usage, how complex it may be. They are ready to digest the eeruketta edhirmarai peyaracham as well. (Please do not ask for clarification. I myself do not know the meaning!) It takes aeons to get accustomed to the usage of language. When people are used to a particular form of a language, it becomes difficult to switch to a new form.

This is not just a case with the language but with the software applications that we use daily. Many of them are reluctant to switch to Windows 7 from the native Windows XP because the interface is new, applications are new. The dialog or the menu accessing methods is new. Why to speak about operating system? For a simple transition from MS Word 2003 to Office 2007, people deny using the system. So when it comes to the mother tongue, it obviously poses a threat to their comfort level.

Changes are inevitable and we all know changes are the only thing which doesn’t change. But for the change to happen, it may take quite some time to get accustomed to it.

Vaalga Tamil!

10 thoughts on “Tamilifying Tamilnadu

  1. //Vadimunai Vennsuruttu kudunga//

    ha.ha.ha. 🙂

    Once I have seen the Tamil term “Kulambiyakam” for a tea shop. They put it on the flex boards everywhere. If not the tea-master ‘tea-aathing’ outside that shop, people would have not definitely got the meaning of that word. 😛

  2. @Veera: I seeeee!!! If he hadn’t been Tea aathing, he would have been “yaarumey-illadha-kadaila-Tea-aathifying” for the rest of the day!!:D Hmmm

  3. Encouraging name boards of business establishments in Tamil is not wrong, but translating everything literally would surely not work. In that case most of our TV channel name should be translated :D. At the same time we should also think about people who know only Tamil, the other day when I gave my number to my driver I said ‘zero’ and he was like “What?”. I didnt know what is zero in Tamil. I said ‘muttai’, ‘ottai’ and many other funny terms and I had to write and show him. He said ‘Oh suzhiya!!!’

  4. Nice thoughts da.. I like that ‘Boost is the secret of my energy’ thing.. if u observe, this statement completely in English has got very much into our culture that u could use it anywhere in India and it will spark images of Sachin having a cup of boost and saying it in the minds of people listening to it! It works! Anyone can speak in English in India.. and people would accept it! even Rajinikanth!
    and this is in a country with relatively low literacy and incredibly low internet penetration.. In the years to come, more and more people would be comfortable with English than with Tamil and eventually Tamil will only be a dialect in spoken and English will almost be everywhere in written communication and actual Tamil words will sound more and more funnier..! Sometimes painful but sometimes more practical as u mentioned!
    Also one of the reason for this could be that Tamil language didn’t evolve much with technology like German or Japanese.. so.. a lot of words referring to new technologies sound funnier or would rather be too complex even for a veteran… but I would say.. its all for good as long as one respects his identity and embraces good changes! once again.. its a nice post and continue your work…

  5. @Moulee:

    //I said ‘muttai’, ‘ottai’ and many other funny terms
    haha LOLs

    //He said ‘Oh suzhiya!!!’
    wat an enlightenment!! 😀

  6. @Rengarajan: Thanks da for the kutti article like comment!! hehe…

    //its a nice post and continue your work…
    Yea sure!! 🙂

  7. I dont know why you call Pure Tamil Names Murdering. Tamil script is not good for transliteration of English words. Snack would be snake bar, . We have a language which has enough literature to develop words..

    Every language develops words, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Russian, German ALL develop native words.

    OK your point – colloquially using Pure Tamil words. It is convenient to use English words in colloquial language, not it is miserable to read them spelt out in Tamil script.

    It is honestly pathetic to read Chans, Snakebaar, Chentar, Tall Mills (for Dhall Mills), Choo/Soo/Shee (for shoes), Purogar (misread often as purogidhar), Lanju home (Bribe home?), Paangu (for bank, actually is the Tamil word for “mode”) etc. In this formal usage, the Tamil translation is the right thing to do.

    This is not true only for Tamil, same is done in virtually every language – you name it French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Chinese, Arabic etc. They all use English words in colloquial usage, but not in formal places – like shop name boards, manuscripts, books where they switch to formal translations.

  8. Some of the translations are actually wrong, the correct Tamil translations are small.

    Zip is just pallinai. (Runner of a zip – pallodi)

    Moped is kodhiyundhu

    Scooter is thullundhu

    Compact Disc – kuruvattu/kurunthagadu

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