Tamil: ழ

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souminwé

Senior Member
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?
 
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  • oxcigene

    New Member
    English
    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?

    Hi souminwé,

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

    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.
     

    Bhasmasuran

    New Member
    India-Malayalam
    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)
     

    aprendiendo argento

    Senior Member
    Slovenian
    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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