Small tips & tricks

With all the sounds, especially with all the sounds that are quite similar to each other, it might feel a bit overwhelming when you want to start writing your first Tamil words. For example your name.

There are a few tips and tricks that can help you to kick-off or at least prevent the simple mistakes. Small rules that can help you to decide whether to use a letter or not.

1. No vowels within a sound

The easiest rule you should remember is that you can never put any of the 12 vowels within a word. The only place that you can use them is at the beginning of a word.

The reason for this is pretty simple. You will always have a compound letter of the vowel and the consonant that follows to reflect the vowel sound.

Different than in English, you have to think in syllables than in just single letters. அம்மம்மாammammā (mothers mother which is the maternal grandmother): This word has the a sound in the beginning, in the middle and an ā sound at the end.

However, only the first character is an a. Every other time it is compund with a consonant and thus results into a ma which is ம்m + a and a மா which is ம்m + ā

2. A vowel can not preceded by another vowel

As a result of the previous rule you can't have to vowel sounds follow each other. So in Tamil you can't write something like "chaos", it would result in somthing like "chayos" because you can not have a single o sound in the middle of a word. So it becomes a யொyo (ய்y + o) instead.

3. A word can never start with a consonant

While a vowel can only be used at the beginning of a word, you can never put a consonant at that place. Consonants can only be used in their raw form in the middle of the word.

If your name is for example "Monica", you wouldn't start with ம்m for the m, but with மொmo for mo. (As said in the first rule: Think in syllables)