A Dravidian language of southern India. Tamil has a sound system much like northern Indian languages, such as Hindi, but a completely different grammar. Unlike northern Indian languages, which evolved from Sanskrit,&Tamil appears to have come from a completely different proto-language.

The Tamil are the most populous of South Indian ethnic groups. More than once in the 20th century they have tried to establish a separate Tamil nation.

Tamil's immediate predecessor was the Grantha script, sharing ancestry with Malayalam and bearing a similar appearence. One significant development of Tamil that differentiates it from other Brahmi derived scripts is its abandonment of consonant cluster letters. In most other scripts, famously in Devanagari, the individual signs for two consonants are combined in a new, amalgam character for the consonant cluster, taking on its own distinctive appearence and preserving the syllabary qualities of the abugida. Tamil is still an abugida, but it has taken to writing consonant clusters out with each individual consonant letter, showing a movement more towards an alphabet.

Another notable development of the Tamil script is its use of certain ancient markers to create new sounds for borrowed foreign words. The aytam symbol can be attatched to a 'p' or 'j' to transform it into a frictive not present in the native Tamil orthography, allowing borrowed English words like ficu for fees and ziroks for Xerox. The same process can not be used to represent English vowels, however, which are instead approximated by Tamil vowels.

Information sourced from Daniels, Peter T. Bright, William. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
The Tamil script is a South Indian script. South Indian scripts are structurally related to the North Indian scripts, but they are used to write the Dravidian languages of southern India and of Sri Lanka, which are generally unrelated to the North Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Gujarati. The shapes of the letters in the South Indian scripts are generally quite distinct from the shapes of the letters in Devanagari and its related scripts. The difference is partly a result of the fact that the South Indian scripts were originally carved with needles on palm leaves, a technology that apparently favored rounded letter shapes rather than square block-like shapes.

The Tamil script is used to write the Tamil language of Tamil Nadu state in India, as well as minority languages such as Badaga. Tamil is also used in Sri Lanka, Singapore and parts of Malaysia. This script has fewer consonants than other Indic script. It also lacks conjunct consonant forms, U+0BCD    Tamil sign virama   is normally fully depicted in Tamil text.

U+0BD7    Tamil au length mark   is provided as an encoding for the right side of the surroundrant (or two-part) vowel U+0BCC    Tamil vowel sign au  

Unicode's Tamil code block reserves the 128 code points from U+0B80 to U+0BFF, of which 72 are currently assigned.

Oriya <-- Tamil --> Telugu

Number of characters added in each version of the Unicode standard :
Unicode 1.1 : 61
Unicode 4.0 : 8
Unicode 4.1 : 2
Unicode 5.1 : 1

Number of characters in each General Category :

Letter, Other            Lo : 37
Mark, Non-Spacing        Mn :  3
Mark, Spacing Combining  Mc : 11
Number, Decimal Digit    Nd : 10
Number, Other            No :  3
Symbol, Currency         Sc :  1
Symbol, Other            So :  7

Number of characters in each Bidirectional Category :

Left To Right                 L : 61
European Number Terminator   ET :  1
Non Spacing Mark            NSM :  3
Other Neutral                ON :  7

The columns below should be interpreted as :

  1. The Unicode code for the character
  2. The character in question
  3. The Unicode name for the character
  4. The Unicode General Category for the character
  5. The Unicode Bidirectional Category for the character
  6. The Unicode version when this character was added

If the characters below show up poorly, or not at all, see Unicode Support for possible solutions.



     Based on ISCII 1988

U+0B82   ஂ   Tamil sign anusvara Mn NSM 1.1
* not used in Tamil
U+0B83   ஃ   Tamil sign visarga Lo L 1.1
aka aytham

     Independent vowels

U+0B85   அ   Tamil letter A Lo L 1.1
U+0B86   ஆ   Tamil letter aa Lo L 1.1
U+0B87   இ   Tamil letter I Lo L 1.1
U+0B88   ஈ   Tamil letter ii Lo L 1.1
U+0B89   உ   Tamil letter U Lo L 1.1
U+0B8A   ஊ   Tamil letter uu Lo L 1.1
U+0B8E   எ   Tamil letter E Lo L 1.1
U+0B8F   ஏ   Tamil letter ee Lo L 1.1
U+0B90   ஐ   Tamil letter ai Lo L 1.1
U+0B92   ஒ   Tamil letter O Lo L 1.1
U+0B93   ஓ   Tamil letter oo Lo L 1.1
U+0B94   ஔ   Tamil letter au Lo L 1.1


U+0B95   க   Tamil letter ka Lo L 1.1
U+0B99   ங   Tamil letter nga Lo L 1.1
U+0B9A   ச   Tamil letter ca Lo L 1.1
U+0B9C   ஜ   Tamil letter ja Lo L 1.1
U+0B9E   ஞ   Tamil letter nya Lo L 1.1
U+0B9F   ட   Tamil letter tta Lo L 1.1
U+0BA3   ண   Tamil letter nna Lo L 1.1
U+0BA4   த   Tamil letter ta Lo L 1.1
U+0BA8   ந   Tamil letter na Lo L 1.1
U+0BA9   ன   Tamil letter nnna Lo L 1.1
U+0BAA   ப   Tamil letter pa Lo L 1.1
U+0BAE   ம   Tamil letter ma Lo L 1.1
U+0BAF   ய   Tamil letter ya Lo L 1.1
U+0BB0   ர   Tamil letter ra Lo L 1.1
U+0BB1   ற   Tamil letter rra Lo L 1.1
U+0BB2   ல   Tamil letter la Lo L 1.1
U+0BB3   ள   Tamil letter lla Lo L 1.1
U+0BB4   ழ   Tamil letter llla Lo L 1.1
U+0BB5   வ   Tamil letter va Lo L 1.1
U+0BB6   ஶ   Tamil letter sha Lo L 4.1
U+0BB7   ஷ   Tamil letter ssa Lo L 1.1
U+0BB8   ஸ   Tamil letter sa Lo L 1.1
U+0BB9   ஹ   Tamil letter ha Lo L 1.1

     Dependent vowel signs

U+0BBE   ா   Tamil vowel sign aa Mc L 1.1
U+0BBF   ி   Tamil vowel sign i Mc L 1.1
U+0BC0   ீ   Tamil vowel sign ii Mn NSM 1.1
U+0BC1   ு   Tamil vowel sign u Mc L 1.1
U+0BC2   ூ   Tamil vowel sign uu Mc L 1.1
U+0BC6   ெ   Tamil vowel sign e Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant
U+0BC7   ே   Tamil vowel sign ee Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant
U+0BC8   ை   Tamil vowel sign ai Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant

     Two-part dependent vowel signs
These vowel signs have glyph pieces which stand on both sides of the consonant; they follow the consonant in logical order, and should be handled as a unit for most processing.

U+0BCA   ொ   Tamil vowel sign o Mc L 1.1
U+0BCB   ோ   Tamil vowel sign oo Mc L 1.1
U+0BCC   ௌ   Tamil vowel sign au Mc L 1.1

     Various signs

U+0BCD   ்   Tamil sign virama Mn NSM 1.1
U+0BD0   ௐ   Tamil om Lo L 5.1
U+0BD7   ௗ   Tamil au length mark Mc L 1.1


U+0BE6   ௦   Tamil digit zero Nd L 4.1
U+0BE7   ௧   Tamil digit one Nd L 1.1
U+0BE8   ௨   Tamil digit two Nd L 1.1
U+0BE9   ௩   Tamil digit three Nd L 1.1
U+0BEA   ௪   Tamil digit four Nd L 1.1
U+0BEB   ௫   Tamil digit five Nd L 1.1
U+0BEC   ௬   Tamil digit six Nd L 1.1
U+0BED   ௭   Tamil digit seven Nd L 1.1
U+0BEE   ௮   Tamil digit eight Nd L 1.1
U+0BEF   ௯   Tamil digit nine Nd L 1.1

     Tamil numerics

U+0BF0   ௰   Tamil number ten No L 1.1
U+0BF1   ௱   Tamil number one hundred No L 1.1
U+0BF2   ௲   Tamil number one thousand No L 1.1

     Tamil symbols

U+0BF3   ௳   Tamil day sign So ON 4.0
U+0BF4   ௴   Tamil month sign So ON 4.0
U+0BF5   ௵   Tamil year sign So ON 4.0
U+0BF6   ௶   Tamil debit sign So ON 4.0
U+0BF7   ௷   Tamil credit sign So ON 4.0
U+0BF8   ௸   Tamil as above sign So ON 4.0

     Currency symbol

U+0BF9   ௹   Tamil rupee sign Sc ET 4.0
* Rupee

     Tamil symbol

U+0BFA   ௺   Tamil number sign So ON 4.0

Some prose may have been lifted verbatim from unicode.org,
as is permitted by their terms of use at http://www.unicode.org/copyright.html

Ta"mil (?), a.

Of or pertaining to the Tamils, or to their language.

[Written also Tamul.]


© Webster 1913.

Ta"mil, n. [Written also Tamul.]

1. Ethnol.

One of a Dravidian race of men native of Northern Ceylon and Southern India.


The Tamil language, the most important of the Dravidian languages. See Dravidian, a.


© Webster 1913.

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