Tamil: ழ

Discussion in 'Other Languages' started by souminwé, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. souminwé Senior Member

    Vancouver, Canada
    North American English, Hindi
    I'm aware that the formal pronunciation of this sound is a retroflex approximant - basically, American English or Mandarin "r". And indeed, I always hear it pronounced this way in songs.

    Yet, I have read that it is sometimes pronounced as "L" (retroflex l) in colloquial Tamil - how pervasive is this? Is the "zh" sound dying in Tamil? What about in Malayalam?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  2. oxcigene New Member


    Hi souminwé,

    Can you please put your query in a more clear way. Actually, i can't quite understand the query?
  3. Ironicus Senior Member

    English & Swahili - East Africa
    Among the older generation of Tamils in South Africa, at least, this was always a retroflex 'zh', but I have noticed that Tamils from India usually pronounce it as almost a retroflex 'l'. To be safe, I will hazard a guess that the two pronunciations are acceptable variants. That would mean that the word 'Tamil' could as well be rendered 'Tamizh'. On the other hand I know a reputed Sanskrit scholar whose native language is Hindi who pronounces this word with the front 'l' of Hindi. He is surely wrong.
  4. Bhasmasuran New Member

    Well, the most of the native speakers still pronounce it as "zh" when they use the native language. ex: when a native tamil speaker speaks in Tamil, he will prounce it as "Thamizh". But the usage of "l" is also common these days.
    As far Malayalam is concernned, the sound "zh" is used always wherever its required. ex: Mazha (meaning Rain)
  5. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
    In Sri Lanka Tamil it is never pronounced as a retroflex R, not even in the most formal contexts, but always as a retroflex L.
    The ZH pronunciation is considered archaic there.

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