Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Tamil Lingo, its amusing side

The Tamils (including yours sincerely) are proud of the fact (?) that their language can survive without Sanskrit words, unlike the North Indian languages and even other South Indian languages. But without intending to offend the die-hard extremists of the linguistic kind, let me show you some examples of the Northern words infiltrating the Tamil language over the centuries ; the Tamils, of course, can argue in a face-saving way that they have avoided the linguistic pollution through assigning totally different meanings to such imported words.

SAWAL: This is obviously a Hindi word. In Hindi, it is used to mean a question. The Tamils freely use this word in their every day speech. But they use it to mean ' challenge'. In Hindi, there is the word Chunauti for challenge. But the Tamils have made a simple sawal into a formidable challenge. Did you see how cleverly the Tamils have tackled the challenge of the Hindi offensive?

KHAALI: This Hindi word means 'Empty' or 'Free'. Do you know how the Tamils handle this khaali stuff? They have made two words, one Khaali and then Ghaali. While I was a kid, I did hear people using the word Khaali to mean empty or free, in the same way the word is used in Hindi. But in the recent years, I have been noticing the Tamil people saying Ghaali to mean empty . And a person with bad character has always been referred to as a Khaali in Tamilnadu. Now this Khaali with 'K'......does it not have a similarity to the Hindi word Ghaali which means abuse or use of foul language? So, Tamil Khaali is Hindi Ghaali and Tamil Ghaali is Hindi Khaali. Now no one can tell us that we are using foreign words. We have distorted them sufficienly so that they have lost their original meaning.

KHILADI: This Hindi word simply means a player. But the Tamils do not call their sportsmen as Khiladi. For that they use the word 'veeran'. It means some one exhibiting heroism. Cricket veerar, Kabadi veerar etc. And what do the Tamils mean when they say Khiladi? They use it to mean some one with negative traits.

There are several such Hindi words ( or words of Sanskrit lineage) which have been accommodated in the Tamil language. This was done at a time or during an age when love for a language did not connote fanaticism.

Now, let me shock the non-Tamils by saying this. Do you know that the Tamils never drink coffee? Oh no, not even Tea. Why so? They do love coffee, tea and other beverages. But they do not drink them. They eat them. Yes, they use the word ' sappidu ' which means 'eat'.They do not use the word ' kudi' for consuming coffee, tea etc. which is the correct word for 'drink'.They say 'Coffee sappidu' (eat coffee), not 'coffee kudi' (drink coffee). As far as I know, the Tamils use 'kudi'or 'kudithal' (drink) only when they refer to water and liquor.But why bother about such puzzles? Let us say 'Cheers!' to the Tamils and drink a tumbler of STRONG Kappi.

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