Lesson - 1 : A05131
TAMIL DURING THE AGE OF
THE PALLAVAS - PHONETICS
This lesson teaches you all about the changes that took place in Tamil letters during the age of the Pallavas. Such changes had taken place even during the Sangam age and subsequent ages. Similarly, during the age of the Pallavas too, there were changes mainly due to the process of evolution. Some of these changes were also due to the influence of Sanskrit on Tamil. We shall now learn all this in detail.
Among all the Dravidian languages, Tamil enjoys the tradition of ancient literary and grammatical texts. Languages are always changing. Not only during the age of the Tholkappiyam, but also during the Sangam age and thereafter, the Tamil language has constantly undergone changes.
The age following the Sangam era, is called the Dark Age, when the Kalappirars ruled Tamil Nadu. At this time, Saivism and Vaishnavism declined greatly. Due to this, Tamil literature too declined. During the Pallava period, Jainism was at the beight of its glory.
It was Thirunaavukkarasar who transformed the entire scenario. He not only embraced Saivism himself, but was instrumental in making Mahendra Varma Pallavan, the King, also a Saivaite. This led to a renaissance of saivism, and along with it, vaishnavism too. Parallel with this, Tamil language grew. Because of the influence of Jainism and Buddhism, which the king encouraged, a number of Sanskrit words entered Tamil. Treasures of Tamil devotional literature, such as the Thevaram, Thiruvaasagam and Naalayira Divya Prabandham were also written during this time.
Significant changes in the vowels and consonants of Tamil, were brought about during this period. For example, the long vowel ‘EE’ was shortened to ‘I’ (இ). Among the consonants, plosives became voiced. For example, the ‘g’ sound in ‘paragan’. There was also a merger of similar or almost similar sounds. For example, ‘la’ became ‘zh’. Thus, Aalwar became Aazhwar.
Thus, this lesson teaches you all about the changes that took place during the Pallava period in Tamil language, especially in the vowels and consonants. Records of these changes are available to us in the literature, as well as in stone and copper inscriptions, of the age.