Friday, 3 October 2008

Toronto Tamil

I've been noticing that Tamil signs in Toronto are often straight transliterations of English. It's interesting to see how English is represented in another phonological and orthographical system.

Vowels are inserted in consonant clusters, and the same letter is used for more than one English phoneme, for instance /s/ and /tʃ/. Tamil doesn't make a phonemic distinction between /t/ and /d/, so in order to make the distinction, rhotic letters (/r/ sounds) are often used for English /t/. For instance, English great becomes கிறேற் kiṟēṟ.

btw, today wikipedia informs me about Tamil phonology that "Though many characters sound alike, the different tongue-teeth vocal coordinations, produce different sound tones." Thanks for that.


நித்தியாஸ் ரெக்ஸ் அன் ஜுவல்லறி - nittiyās reks aṉ juvallaṟi - Nithya's Tex and Jewellery


விடோ தியேட்டர் - viṭō tiyēṭṭar - video theatre


சில்க் - cilk - silk


கிறேற் பேணிச்சர் - kiṟēṟ pēṇiccar - that is, "Great Furniture", the name of the store


லைப்ஸ்டைல் ஹேர் சலூன் - laipsṭail hēr calūṉ - Lifestyle Hair Saloon

7 comments :

komfo,amonan said...

This is reminiscent to me of Yiddish, wherein Hebrew letters are used to represent the sounds of a West Germanic language. -- Sometimes here in New York you will see signs ostensibly in Korean, but when you sound them out you'll see they are in English represented by Hangul. I wish I could come up with an example, but they escape me at the moment.

goofy said...

I've seen some Korean signs like that in Toronto too.

ramesh said...

Can u give me the addresses of the 2nd, 3rd, and especially the 4th pic with that lifestyle hair salon plz?

goofy said...

I don't know where the Lifestyle Hair Saloon is exactly, but according to the page I got the picture from, it's on Gerrard East. I don't know where Great Furniture is. The silk store and Nithya's Tex and Jewellery are also on Gerrard East. The movie theatre is on Bloor between Bathurst and Christie.

Kapilan said...

Most of the Tamils in Toronto are from Sri Lanka and they pronounce some of the Tamil letters differently than the Tamils in India. For example, the Tamil letter 'ra' used in maram (tree), karam (hand), is pronounced in Jaffna as 'ta' as in the English word 'take'.

goofy said...

Kapilan, thanks. I don't know much about the different varieties of Tamil.

goofy said...

Kapilan, are both ர and ற pronounced the same in Sri Lankan Tamil? because some signs use ர for t and some use ற.