Tamil: ka between vowels

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Senior Member
English - American
I have heard many pronunciations for the letter ka between short a's. My mother and father both speak "Brahman" Iyer Tamil, but they pronounce this sound differently.

For example, for the word spelled "pustakam" (book), my mother would say "pustaham" with a voiced ha sound but my father would say "pustagham" with the "soft gha" sounding like a g after a vowel in Spanish (like in "la gata" or "lago") and kind of like the guttural gha in Urdu/Arabic, but much more toned down. I have also heard "pustakam," but not from anyone in my family. Which pronunciation, if any, is correct?

Note: when the ka/ga between vowels is from a Sanskrit ga, like in raagam (music I think), both my mom and dad would pronounce it raagham with a soft ga; it sounds unnatural to me with a fully pronounced hard ga like in "bhaagaa" in Hindi.
  • langDino

    New Member
    India - Tamil & English
    'pustakam' is a loan word from Sanskrit. 'ka' is the actual pronunciation. But when people pronounce it, I've heard them use 'ga' or 'ha' in place of ka. It is just a matter of convenience. FYI, 'Nool' is the equivalent word for book in tamil. 'Raagam' is again borrowed from sanskrit. 'ga' is the right pronunciation. 'gha' is not the right way but still some people use it. The meaning of the word does not change if you pronounce it as 'ga' or 'gha', so people accept it as long as they can understand.
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    New Member
    "India - Tamil & English"
    Hi, In Tamil GA doesn't speak from olden days, I mean KA is only available for olden days. After merge of some languages ( Sanskrit, Hindi etc) GA has been introduced in Tamil. So finally what I am telling "PUTHTHAKAM" is place of KA and "Raagam" is place of GA or GHA. Puththam is Tamil word, Raagam is sanskrit word.

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