The Tamil Script

Tamil is a Dravidian language. Those Dravidian languages can not be connected to any other languages.

Since the second century BCE, the Dravidian language can be found on inscriptions in form of Tamil-Brahmi Script (also known as Tamili).

During the period of the Chera, Chola and Pandiya kingdoms that script evolved and became the Tamil script we use nowadays.

Unlike the Latin script, the Tamil language is not an alphabet, but a form of an abugida. In an abugida, each character represents a combination of a consonant followed by a vowel. You can then alter the vowel by using diacritics (or extra characters).

In Tamil, you have 30 main characters, the முதலெழுத்துmutaleḻuttu that you use to build the whole abugida of 216 characters (சார்பெழுத்துcārpeḻuttu).

So Tamil has 247 (30 + 216 + a special character) letters that you have to learn, but since they can be built systematically it is pretty easy to learn them all.

In this chapter you are going to learn the system behind the Tamil script and thus master all 247 letters.