Brief Political History / Development of Sinhala Characters / Evolution of Sinhala Characters / Three Sinhala (Hodiyas) without the Vowel Expansion / Development of Tamil Characters / Tamil Alphabet with the Vowel Expansion / Position of Sri Lanka Standard Institute / Difficulties Relating to the Current Software / Advantages of having a Sinhala and Tamil Character Matrix / Why we need complete Sinhala and Tamil Characters / News Paper Articles / References / Solution / Cartoons / Comments / Save our Language Sinhala/Computer literacy low / Sinhala Grammer & Reading / Some E mail from Linux Group / Catalogue of Palmleaves

Development of Tamil Characters

                 Tamil is the language of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu as well as Sri Lanka. The Tamil script evolved from the Grantha script of the Southern Indian group of scripts and the Tamil language is one of the oldest recorded languages in southern India. The earliest texts, written in a southern variant of Brahmi, date from just before the 1st century. Later, the Grantha script was employed in the writing of Tamil until the 8th century, when a distinctive script evolved exclusively for Tamil. Borrowings from Sanskrit added some special letters in Tamil which are still used for words borrowed from English.

                 Unlike other South Asian scripts, Tamil does not have signs for voiceless aspirated (such as /kh/), voiced (/g/), and voiced aspirated stops (/gh/), which explains the relatively small number of signs in the Tamil script compared to other South Asian scripts. To write some of these sounds, some signs have multiple sound values: Tamil letter ka stands for both /ka/ and /ga. Sometimes these phonetic alterations are conditioned by the sound's position in the word. Borrowings from Sanskrit also added some special letters to Tamil. There are six characters borrowed from Grantha and have been used to write Sanskrit loanwords. Nowadays they are used to write words with English origin as well. Similar to Sinhala scripts, a Tamil letter carries the inherent vowel of /a/. To change this vowel to another, extra strokes or signs are placed around the letter. Even the absence of the vowel is indicated by a dot written, called virama, above the letter. At present, the Tamil alphabet contains a total of 247 characters.

                The Sinhala and Tamil languages consist of unique characters for most of the consonants known in the English language as well as the vowels. In Sinhala several characters exist for close sound values and sequence of graphical symbols cluster around a character. This is one of the reasons that, as yet, no character allocation tables for these languages have been developed.

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