Sumerian :TAMIL  of the First CaGkam

Dear Friends

I published this article in Journal of Tamil Studies , Chennai in the year 1975 and was the first research paper on SumeroTamil that I published. It contains the phonological analysis between selected etymas of Sumerian and Dravidian. I am republishing it with only minor changes despite some imperfections so that more competent scholars than myself in this field will find some substance for their further research into the phonology of Sumerian and Tamil.

Please discard my comments between Aryan and Dravidian family of languages. Now I think there is no substance for this distinction



Within the last few  years some  of the attempts to find genetic connections with  the Dravidian family of  languages have been quite successful .  The long suspected affinities  between  Ural-Altaic languages and Dravidian have  been well demonstrated by Stephen Tyler. (14) Caldwell's conjecture regarding the affinities  between Dravidian and Elamite has been  confirmed  by David MacAlpin.(11) The identification of Elamite as cognate with Dravidian  is certainly a significant breakthrough in Dravidiological studies. It becomes by this identification, the oldest known language with Dravidian affinities to have existed at a place and time crucial in  the history of human civilization. Many investigations have also noted connections  between Sumerian and Dravidian but nothing conclusive has been established except the fact that Sumerian, like the Dravidian but unlike the Semitic and Indo-European, has an agglutinative structure. Benno Landberger has observed a further striking similarity viz. the occurrence of pronominal elements in the verb morphology corresponding to the object classification of persons and non-persons. However an examination of the Sumerian language in the texts transliterated and translated within the last few years reveals such close correspondences in the lexical structure and grammar that in all likelihood Sumerian is the PSDr or more accurately the Archaic Tamil. Furthermore on the basis of some linguistic and literary evidences it can be argued that Sumerian in fact is the Tamil of the First CaGkam and that Sumeru, the cradle of human civilization is none other than Kumari, the cradle of Dravidian civilization oe something related to it.

As far as I know, to date, there does not exist a Sumerian lexicon. It appears that the difficulties associated with determining the grammar of the language has precluded such a construction. The lexical items given in the appendix were collected largely from the following texts: Two Sulgi Hymns by G. R. Castelino, Dumuzi’s Dream and The Instructions of Suruppak by Bendt Alster. (4, 1) The grammatical remarks in the commentaries of the above texts and the detailed analysis of the semantic functioning of the various infixes by Gene B. Gragg in his ‘Sumerian Dimensional Infixes’ were the primary source for the comparative study of the grammar. Kramer's Lamentation over The Destruction of Ur and the older text by Langdon “Sumerian Grammar and ' Chrestomathy” were also consulted for a general understanding of the problems associated with the reading of the original Sumerian texts in the cuneiform  

Subsequent to  the decipherment of the cuneiform script in the late nineteenth century, though there has been considerable progress in the more accurate understanding of the Sumerian language, doubts and controversies are by no means unknown. The texts that the spades of archaeologists have  unearthed range over a spread of roughly two thousand  years  during which the cuneiform script as well as the language itself underwent considerable changes. Added to these difficulties are also the dialectical differences  that seem to have prevailed in Sumeru itself.

The  transliterations and translations of the original Sumerian texts are done by comparative  study of Akkadian and Sumerian and especially the  meanings of  a number of words and expressions are in fact reconstructions based on a detailed appraisal of the contextual conditions and a comparative study of similar expressions and their Akkadian equivalents. Akkadian is a Semitic language which was deeply influenced by Sumerian. It coexisted with Sumerian for a considerable period of time and after the destruction of Sumer by floods and the overthrow of Sumerians at the beginning of the second millennium B.C., displaced Sumerian as the official language though Sumerian continued for a considerable period of time as the language of higher cultures. The reconstructed nature of Sumerian phonetic structure and semantics should be kept in mind in the appraisal of this paper.

In the list of lexical correspondences, the bulk of the items from the Dravidian languages come from Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (DED) and the Supplement compiled by professors T. Burrow and M. B. Emeneau. While this paper would have been impossible if not for this vast collection of Dravidian etymas, it is rather unfortunate that some semantic nuances of the etymas and some lexical items themselves are not included probably for lack of sufficient evidence to show their Dravi- dian nativity. Since Sumerian was a developed language with extensive literature well before any Aryan language including Sanskrit, and as
there is no evidence to show any significant contact between the Sumerians and any Aryan speakers around the time the texts were composed (around >2200 B.C.) or even earlier, I have assumed that a Sumerian lexeme which is very well represented by Dravidian even if it is by Tamil alone is Dravidian in origin. It is possible that some of these words are Semitic though this line of investigation is not pursued here. The following words which have hitherto been considered Sanskrit or Prakrit, appear to be in fact Dravidian.

1.       arukan Su. arhus ' benevolent person '.

2. avai Su. abbe ' to speak '.
3. aakkiNai, aaNai, aknja Su. agga, aga ' command '.
4. akki Su. igi ' eye '.
5. padimam, patumam Su. itima' shrine'.
6. maatam, mati Su. iti, itu ' newmoon, month '.
7. ukkiram Su. ug-gu ' furious '.

8. uruttiran Su. urudu ' copper '.
9. ulaku Su. uku, uku-lu ' people '.
10. katai Su. ka-ta-a-a ' willed self expression '.
11. karumam Su. gar-u ' to set up '.
12. aacaan  Su. gasan ' lord '.
13. kuNam Su. gun ' multi-coloured '.
14. ciilam Su. silim ' salutations, decree '.
15. carvam Su. sar-ra ' all '.
16. cakkaram Su. sukur ' weapon, javeline '.
17. cakalam Su. sugil ' all '.
18. cettu, cittam Su. sid, sed  , to think, reckon, recite etc .
19. ceesu ciidan, sisya Su. ses ' brother, child’
20. taaram Su. dam ' wife '.
21. tamaram Su. damhara ' battle, war '.
22. viti Su. di ' law suit, judgement '.
23. ticai Su. te ' direction .
24. naamam Su. mu ' name. fame '.
25. manuci Su." manusi ' woman '.
26. ciivan Su. zi ' life '.
27. namoo Su. zami ' praise '.
28. caalai Su. sila ' road '.
29. kaNi, kaNitam Su. kin ' to reckon '.

In the commentaries a number of Akkadian words were given as
equivalent to Sumerian and some of these appear to be undoubtedly Dravidian.

1. Ak. urukku, araku ‘to  elongate '. Ta. urukku, arakku.
2. Ak. bitu ' house ' Ta. viidu.
3. Ak. piqittu ' accountancy ' Ta. pakuttal.
4. Ak. heru ' to dig, plough ' Ta. ceru, eeru
5. Ak. maru ' offspring ' Ta. mari.
6. Ak. entu ' lord ' Ta. eental.
7. Ak. ela ' to rise up ' Ta. ezu.
8. Ak. taru, turru ' to return ' Ta. taru, tiruppu.
9. Ak. naaru ' river ' Ta. aaRu, nati.
10. Ak. ziru, ziru ' to get angry ' Ta. ciRu.
11. Ak. erisu' savour ' Ta. uruci.
I2. Ak. qubu ' to call ' Ta. kuuvu, kuuv
13. Ak. padaanu ' path ' Ta. patai
14. Ak. awielu, awillu ' person '. Ta. aaLu
15. Ak. siru ' noble ' Ta. tiru.
I 6. Ak. mahiru ' price ' Ta. malivu.
17. Ak. qaalu, quulu ' to utter ' Ta. kiLavu.
I8. Ak. appu ' sea ' Ta. appu
19. Ak. alaaku ' to remove ' Ta. akaru, akalu

20. Ak. saruuru ' to shine ' Ta. cudaru.
21. Ak. taraadu ' to chase out ' Ta. turattu.
22. Ak. sihru ' small ' Ta. ciRu.
23. Ak. tehu ' to approach, attack ' Ta. taakku.
24. Ak. aalu city, region ' Ta. aalam.
2 5. Ak. illatu ' clan ' Ta. illattaar Ta. il: home
26. Ak. kenu ' great ' Ta. keeN
27. Ak. banu ' to make ' Ta. paNNu
28.  Ak. rimu ' ox ' Ta. erumai.
29. Ak. nabu ' to announce ' Ta. navil.
31. Ak. diwer ' god' Ta. teevar, teevam

The references to words and semantic nuances not available in DED are to Tamil Lexican (TL) and Fabricious Tamil to English Dictionary (FTED) which happily contains some obsolete forms. The abbreviations and transcriptions are as those in DED.

Langdon has noted that the cuneiform script evolved by Sumerians had the capacity only for writing the four basic vowels: a, u, i, and e. The other signs used to represent the above vowels are usually rendered as those vowels but with diacritic  marks. Though the short-long distinction existed, both Kramer and Langdon aver that there was no definite way of determining
it though it is generally presumed that when a separate sign was employed the long vowel was intended and that in the signs representing closed syllables the vowels could be long or short as the circumstances require. A single sign could be read as ' lig '. ' lag ', or ' liig ', ' laag '. Langdon also mentions that sometimes the sign for ' a ' was also pronounced as ' o’ but this view is not currently held. The strategy for writing down more complex vowels was evolved only during the Ur dynasty where the
scribes combined the signs for single vowels to write down such dipthongs as a-i, a-u, i-a, u-a. There is sufficient reason to identify these dipthongs with Tamil ay, av, ya, and va (= o?) respectively.

The vowels correspondences between Su. and Ta. are as follows.

Su. a-: Ta. a-

Su. a Ta. am ' water '; Su. aka Ta. akam ' love '; Su. ambar Ta. amparam
' sea. marsh '; Su. amma Ta. amma ' mother ': Su. ara
Ta. arai ' to grind '; Su. aliri Ta. alaru ' to blent '.

Su. -a- . Ta. -a-

Su. arali Ta. arali ' terrfying '; Su. abbal Ta. aval- ' curse '.
Su. uname Ta. uLamai ' whatever existing '; Su. kalam Ta. kalam ' boat '.
Su. kar-ra Ta. karai ' quay ' ; Su. kak Ta. kakam ' arrow '.

Su. a- . Ta. aa-

bu. a Ta. aam, aal  ' water '; Su. ag, ak Ta. aakku ' to make, do '; aaku: become
Su. ara Ta. aaraay ' investigate '; Su. a-ra- Ta. aaRu ' course, way '.  

Su. -a- : Ta. -aa-

Su. sar Ta. caRRu ' to write, relate '; Su. sal Ta. caal ' to be weary '.

Su. a’- : Ta. aa-

Su. a’ Ta. aay ' wages, toll '; Su. aga Ta. aaNai ' command'; Su. a’m.
Ta. aa ' to become '; Su. a’r Ta. aar ' fullness '.

Su.  -‘a- : Ta. -aa-

Su. m’as Ta. maan ' gazelle '; Su. g’al, k’al Ta. kaal ' to place '.

Su. ‘a- : Ta. a-

Su. ‘am Ta. anbu ' love '.

Su. -a- : Ta. -u-

Su. sam Ta. cumm- * to carry '.

Su. a- : Ta. e-

Su. a-na Ta. enna, en ' what '.

Su. -a- : Ta. -o-

Su. kak Ta. kokki ' peg '; Su. sarru Ta. koRRan ' king '.

Su. -a- : Ta. -oo-

Su. gada Ta. koodi ' cloth '.

Su. -a- : Ta. -e-

Su. sag, san, sa-an Ta. cenni ' head ', Su. nari Ta. neRi ' moral instructions '.

Su. -a- : Ta. -i-

Su. tar Ta. tiRa ' to open, disclose '; Su. pad Ta. pitir ' to break to pieces '.

Su. a- : Ta. -*

Su. amaru Ta. maari ' deluge '; Su. amar Ta. mar i ' young of living things ';
Su. amas Ta. maadu ' cattle '.

Su. i- : Ta. i-

Su. ir Ta. ir ' wet, moist '; Su. inim Ta. enam ' word '; Su. inga, iga
Ta. innam ' again '; Su. ilum Ta. iru ' great, powerful '.

Su. -i- : Ta. -i-

Su. egir Ta. etir ' future '; Su. ibila Ta. piLLai 'son, daughter ';
Su. itima Ta. patimam, padivam ' shrine '; Su. edin Ta. tiNai ' territory '.

Su. i- : Ta. ii-

Su. i Ta. ii (ee) to exalt '.

Su. -i- : Ta. -ii-

Su. ki, ki(n) Ta. kiiz ' below, land '.

Su. i- : Ta. i-

Su. ib Ta. ikal ' be angry

Su. i-: Ta. a-

Su. igi Ta. akki ' eye '; Su. ilu Ta. azu ' cry, weep '.

Su. i- : Ta. e-

Su. izi Ta. eri ' fire '.

Su. -i- : Ta. -a-

Su. kid Ta. kad ' to remove, cut off ': Su. gin, gi Ta. kannal ' reeds ';
Su. gibil Ta. kavin ' new '

Su. -i- : Ta. -aa-

Su. kin Ta. kaaN, ' to seek. see '; Su. kin-si(g) Ta. kanci ' food ';
Su. gig, gi Ta. kaar ' black '; Su. sig, si Ta. caay ' to grow thin ';  

Su. sila Ta. caalai ' road '.

Su. -i- : Ta. -u-

Su. pirig Ta. puli ' tiger '.

Su. -i- : Ta. -uu-

Su. tir Ta. tur ' distant '; Su. diri Ta. tuur ' to fill up '.

Su. u- : Ta. u-

Su. u Ta. uy ' to live '; Su. ud, u Ta. uvaa' day '; Su. udu Ta. udu
' goat, sheep '; Su. usumgal Ta. utumpu ' iguana '; Su. uggu Ta.
ukku ' to perish, decay '; Su. utu-e-a Ta. utayam ' sunrise '; Su. ulu
Ta. ulavai ' wind '; Su. ur-re Ta. uri ' emotions '; Su. ul Ta. uL
‘heart, mind .

Su. -u- : Ta. -u-

Su. kur Ta. kunRu ' mountain '; Su. kum Ta. kummu ' to pound ';
Su. kuli. Ta. ikuli ' friend '; Su. gur Ta. kuRai ' to sever, reduce ';
Su. gurus Ta. kuruku ' young '; Su. .surru Ta. cuRRu ' bounded area ';
Su. dul, tul Ta. tuLai ' hole, cavity '.

Su. u- : Ta. uu-

Su. ul, ur Ta. uuz ' ancient '; Su. uru Ta. uuru ' town, city '; Su. ucu
Ta. uun ' flesh '.

Su. -u- : Ta. -uu-

Su. kus Ta. kuuu ' envelope '; Su. kuli Ta. ikuli ' company, friend '.
Su. gur Ta. kuuRu ' tell '.

Su. u’- : Ta. u-

Su. us’ Ta. utiram ' blood '

Su. ‘u- : Ta. u-

Su. ‘uku-(ku), ku-ku Ta. uraGku ' sleep ' ; Su. ur Ta. uRupu ' limbs '.

Su. u- : Ta. a- or aa-

Su. ur-mah Ta. arima ' lion '; Su. ua Ta. aaN ' male '.

Su. -u- : Ta. -a- or -aa-

Su. arhus Ta. arukan ' benevolent person '; Su. allub Ta. alavan ' crab ';
Su. urudu Ta. arattam ' copper '; Su. kud Ta. katam ' decision ';
Su. gud, gu Ta. kaNdam ' neck '; Su. hunga Ta. vaaGku ' to carry
away '; Su. s’ukur, Ta. cakkaram ' disc, javeline '; Su. dumu
Ta. taman ' son, offspring '.

Su. -u- : Ta. -i- or -ii-

Su. mul Ta. min ' to glitter ; Su. mul Ta. min ' stars

Su. -u- : Ta. -oo-

Su. ur Ta oori ' dog, howler '.

Su. u- : Ta. ii-

Su. ugu, unu Ta. iinu ' to bear '

Su. -u- : Ta. -o- or -oo-

Su. gul, kul Ta. kol ' kill '; Su. gu(r) Ta. ka ' huge '; Su. tuku Ta. toku
' to link, assemble '.

Su. -u- : Ta. -e-

Su. su. sug or sun Ta. cel ' go'.

Su. e- : Ta. e-

Su. egir Ta. etir ' future '; Su. etim eri Ta. eLi ' poor '; Su. ellu
Ta. el, ellu ' bright '.

Su. e-: Ta. ee-

Su. e Ta. eer, eey, eev ' to ascend, to move above ' ; Su. en Ta. eeN ' lord '.

Su. -e- : Ta. -ee-

Su. sed Ta. cettu ' to think '; Su. senbar Ta. cemmaRi ' wild goat ';
Su. sen Ta. cem- ' excellent '; Su. neradu Ta. neradu ' rough '; Su. nesi(g)
Ta. necavu ' to bind '.

Su. -e- : Ta. -ee-

Su. ses Ta. ceedan ' brother '* Su. men Ta. meel ' that which is over or high '

Su. e- : Ta. ee-

Su. e Ta.  eeku ' to go, pass '

Su. e- : Ta. i-

Su. e Ta. izi ' to descend '; Su. ehi Ta. ilai ' shoots '; Su. elum Ta iru.
' great '.

Su. -e- : Ta. -i-

Su. geme Ta. adimai ' slave ' ; Su. sed Ta. cinti ' to think '

Su. e- : Ta. a- or aa-

Su. eres Ta. araci ' queen '; Su. ensi Ta. aaNdi' governor, spiritual head '.

Su. -e- : Ta. -a- or -aa-

Su. eres Ta. araci ' queen '; Su. ten Ta. taN ' cool '; Su. mer Ta. mari
' deluge ', Su. sed Ta. caanti, caatu ' peace ' quiet '.

Su. e- : Ta. -oo-

Su. e Ta. oo, ovu ' watercourse '.

It may be possible that the “u’ “ or “’u” is actually the kuRRiyalukaram of Tolkappiyar for it is frequently found to occur at the end of lexemes possibly as a kind of vowel release. We have subu’, ulu’, uku’, ku’su, and kusu’ . ( Note the diacritical marks(‘)  It is not clear whether in an analogous manner either e or i with diacritics can be interpreted as KuRRiyalukaram too.

When the overall distribution of vowels in about four hundred lexical items in Sumerian were compared with their equivalent in Tamil, the following ratios were obtained. These ratios may serve to quantify the subjective impression of preservation of morphology. The ratios are expressed as Su: Ta.

a : a = 185:111 a : aa = 185:27 a : u = 185: 11 a : e = 185:2

a : e’ = 185.2 a : o == 185:2  a : oo = 188:1 a : i = 185:5

a’ . a = 21:4 a’ : aa = 21:8  a’: i = 21:1 ‘a : a = 6 :5

i : i 104: 45 i : ii = 104:11  i : a = 104:23  I’ : a 104.

i : u = 104 :7  i : e -= 104: 4 i : oo = 104:1

i’ : i = 7.2  i’: a   7:2 i’ : u -= 7:2 i’ : i = 2:1

u : u = 154 :75   u: uu 151:13 u : a = 154:33 u : aa 154:1

u : o = 154:3 u : oo = 154:2  0 : i = 154:9  0 : i 131:1

u : e = 154:1 u : ee = 154:2  

u’ : u = 20:11 u’ : ii = 20:4 u’ : a = 20:2 u’ : i = 20:1

u’ : oo = 20:1

‘u : u = 24:11 ‘u : uu = 24:4 ‘u : a = 24:4 ‘u : o = 24:1

‘u : oo = 24:3

e : e = 46:10  e : ee = 46:5  e : ii = 46:5 e : i = 46:2

e : a = 4G:12 e : a = 46:3 e : a = 4G:1 c : 6 46:2

e’: e = 5:1 &   e’: i = 5:1  e’ : a = 5:1  e’ : aa = 5:1

‘e : u = 5:1

‘e : e = 6:1 ‘e : ee = 6:2  ‘e : a = 6:1  ‘e : i = 6:1

‘e : u = 6:1

We can set up the consonantal system of Sumerian as follows:

k-   -k-   -kk-   -k

g-   -g-   -gg-  -g

d-   -d-   -dd-  -d

t-    -t-   -tt-?

p- -p-    -pp-

b- -b- -bb- -b

s- -s- -ss- -s

s’- -s’- -s’ (sh?)

r-?  -r-  -rr-  -r

l- ?  -l-  -ll-  -l

n-  -n-  -nn-   -n

m-    -m-  -mm- -m
v- -y- -yy-

v- -v-

There are evidences to show that r ' and ' l’ do not occur initially and that such words can be restored to a form with initial vowels e.g. ru, aru ' to bestow, make ': la, ala, power ': ra-zu. ara-zu etc. The semivowels  I` and u` are rendered here as ' y ' and ' v respectively. The identification of ' I` ' ' u` ' is quite unmistakable as the correspondence Su. ai`I`a Ta. ayya ' father ' would indicate. The evidences for ' v ' is more indirect. First of all we could identify the diphthong au as Ta. av. Secondly in the Akkadian adaptation of Sumerian originals 'awilu ' and  ‘diwer ' which correspond to Ta. aLu or CT avaaLu and ' teyvam ' or ' teevar we have a ' w ' which may be a semitic rendering of an original ' v ' in Sumerian. We can also consider ' w ' as occurring in Sumerian and takeit as the primitive of Tamil ' v '. Langdon has observed that the sign rendered as ' w ' is also the sign read 'as ' p '. The change p > v is very well attested in Tamil and other South Dravidian languages.

It also appears that ' h^ ' is not a distinct phoneme but a spirantisation
of the plosive ' k '. Consider

*kur> h^ur>irul (liver); kar>h^ar>varai (to delimit)

gur-ru>*kur-m> h^ur-ru>aRu (to cut)

We must also mention some confusion and irregularities associated with the phonetic value of ' g '. It appears that ' g ' as in sag, ag, nag, seg etc. though actually [ng] or [n^] it is usually rendered as the hard stop [g] in some cases while  the same sign is rendered as the nasal [n] in some other cases e.g. hun,kin etc. for no other reason than a convention thathas come to prevail among Sumeriologists. Langdon also avers that the phonetic value of * ng ' when intervocalic must be [n] in order to account for the intervocalic change -ng->-mm-

The following correspondences hold between the consonants in Sumerian and Tamil.

Su. k- : Ta. k-.

Su. kalam Ta. kalam ' boat '; Su. kalam Ta. kafam ' land ' ; Su. ka~ Ta. katavu ' gate '; Su. ka-ta-i-a- Ta. katai ' willed self expression '; Su. kar Ta. kar- ' to destroy '; Su. kak Ta. kokki ' peg '; Su. ki(n), ki Ta. kiz ' below, land '; Su. kur Ta. kunRu ' mountain '; Su. ku’ Ta. kuuz ' food '; Su. kinsig Ta. kahci' food, gruel '

Su. -k- : Ta. -k-.

Su. uku’ Ta. uRukan ' poverty '; Su. uku~, uku-lu Ta. ulaku
' people '; Su. u’ku-(ku) Ta. uRanGku ' sleep '; Su. tukal Ta. tukai, tukaL
crush '; Su. tuku Ta. toku ' to assemble '; Su. mur ku’ Ta. muruku ' fuel '

Su. -k- : Ta. -kk-

Su. sukur Ta. cakkar, a ' disc, javelin '.

Su. -* : Ta. -k- or k-

Su. udum Ta. kudumpam ' clan '; Su. e’ Ta. eeku
' to go, pass '; Su. bar Ta. pakar ' light '; Su. ma-az Ta. makiZ ' to
rejoice '; Su. mu Ta. maka- ' offspring '

Su. g-: Ta. k-

Su. gaba Ta. kaaval ' protection '; Su. gada Ta. koodi ' cloth '; Su. gig, gi Ta. kaar, kari ' black '; Su. gub-u Ta. kuppu ' to place, stand '; Ta. ges’tu Ta. kaatu ' ear '; Su. gu’ Ta. kuuv ‘ tocall '

Su. -g- : Ta. -k-.

Su. dagal Ta. akal ' broad '; Su. a-gin, a-gim Ta. aGkan ' in that way '; Su. h^unga Ta. vaaGku ' to carry away '; Su. sugil Ta. cakalam ' all '; Su. murgu Ta. mutuku ' the back '

Su. -g- : Ta. -kk-

Su. aga, ag Ta. akku ' to make, do '; Su. igiTa. akki ' eye '; Su. tag Ta. takku ' to approach, attack '

Su. -gg- : Ta. -kk-

Su. uggu Ta. ukku ' to perish '; Su. agga Ta. akkinai ' command '; Su. uggu Ta. ukkiram ' furious

Su. -h^- : Ta. -k-

Su. sah^ar Ta. cakati ' mire, dust '; Su. arh^us Ta. arukon ' benevolent person '; Su. h^alah^ Ta. valaGku ' distribute ';

Su. h^- : Ta. v-

Su. h^ar Ta. vari ' to delimit, surround ';  

Su. h^unga Ta. vaaGku ' to carry away '; Su. h^alah^ Ta. vazaGku ' distri-
bute '.

Su. h^-: Ta. *-

Su. h^ar Ta. aarvam ' desire '; Su. h^i-ti Ta. ezil ' beauty '; Su. h^ur-ru Ta. aRu ' to cut ', Su. h^ul Ta. uval ' to rejoice.' Su. h^ul Ta. , ozi ' to destroy '; Su. h^ur Ta. uri ' to scratch '

Su. s- : Ta. c-

Su. sir Ta. ciiRu ' to become angry '; Su. surru Ta. cuRRu ' to twist, neighbourhood '; Su. su-ub Ta. cuuppu, cappu' to fondle with lips '; Su. silli Ta. cezi ' to rejoice '; Su. sal Ta. cal ' to be weary '; Su. sila Ta. caalai ' road '

Su. -s- : Ta. -c-

Su. nesig Ta. neci, necavu ',to bind '

Su. -ss- : Ta. -cc-

Su. mu-us-sa Ta. maccunan. Cf. maccaan ' brother in
law '

Su. -s- : Ta. -d-

Su. ensi Ta. aaNdi ' governor, spiritual head '

Su. s’- : Ta. c-

Su. s’a.a. Ta. caa ' to mourn ', Su. s’ag, s’an Ta. cenni ' head '; Su. s’iddu Ta. ciddai ' ledger '; Su. s’udu Ta. cuudu ' to wear, attain '; Su. s’ubu Ta. kuppu ' to duck down '; Su. s’u Ta. cuuz ' to surround, overwhelm '; Su. s’er Ta. ceer ' to join. unite '.

Su. -s’, -s’- : Ta. -c-

Su. is’i Ta. mical ' hill '; Su. eres’ Ta. araci ' queen '; Su. es’a Ta. valci 'food '; Su. gas’an Ta. aacaan ' lord' ';
Su. tus’ Ta. tuncu ' to lie in wait '; Su. tes’ Ta. toncam ' degradation '
Su. manus’ Ta. manuci ' woman '

Su. ‘s- : Ta. k-

Su. ‘sarru Ta. koRRaan ' king '; Su. ‘sub-u Ta. kuppu ' to
duck down '; Su. ‘supu’ Ta. kuuppu ' to press together '; Su. ‘su
Ta. kai ' hand '; Su. ‘se Ta. kan ' place ' locative suffix '

Su. -s’, -s’- : Ta. -k-

Su. mus’me Ta. mukam ' face ' ; Su. gurus’ Ta. kuRu, kuRuku ' young

Su. -s’-: Ta. -t-, -tt-

Su. us’ Ta. utiram'blood'; Su. urs’a Ta. uratt- ‘ to become loud’

Su. -s’, -s’- : Ta. -d-

Su. kas’ Ta. kadi ' path '; Su. es’ Ta. viidu ' house '; Su. kus’u Ta. kuudu ' to consult '; Su. kus’u Ta. kodu ' to appease ';
Su. ses’ Ta. ciidan ' son, child,brother '; Su. amas’ Ta. maadu ' cattle '

Su. d- : Ta. t-

Su. dal Ta. taL ' to force forward ': Su. dam Ta. taaram ' wife '; Su. dabbe Ta. tappu ' escape '; Su. didi Ta. tudi ' small '; Su. diri Ta. tur ' to fill up '; Su. dili Ta. tani ' single '; Su. du Ta. tuu ' proper, fitting '; Su. dumu Ta. taman ‘son '; Su. dul Ta. tuLai ' cavity. hole ': Su. dug Ta. tuuGku ' sleep

Su. d- : Ta. -d- esp. id- ad- etc

Su. da Ta. idam ' place, side '; Su. du Ta. adu, aadu ' to flap move side to side '; Su. dub Ta. iduppu ' knees '; Su. du Ta. udu ' to cloth '; Su. dul Ta. udal ' whatever covered '

Su. -d-, -d Ta. -d-

Su. a-du-a Ta. adaivu ' regular custom '; Su. id Ta. idu security ': Su. ide,id Ta. ootai - water course ': Su. udu Ta. udu, aadu ' sheep, goat '; Su. gada ' Ta. koodii ' cloth '; Su. pad Ta. padi ' to read, recite '.

Su. d- , -d- : Ta. -t-

Su. s’ed Ta. caantam ' peace '; Su. di Ta. viti ' judgement, law suit '; Su. didi Ta. tiddu ' to punish

Su. -dd- : Ta, -tt-

Su. adda Ta. attaa ' father’  

Su. -d- : Ta. -dd-, -tt-

Su. gid Ta. kiddu ' to accept '; Su. urudu Ta. arattam ' copper '; Su. s’ed Ta. cettu ' to think '

Su. d- : Ta. *-

Su. dagal Ta. akal ' broad '

Su. t-: Ta. t-

Su. tab Ta. tai, tabu' to clasp tight '; Su. tab Ta. tabu ' to come to an end '; Su. tag Ta. takku ' to approach, attack '; Su. tag Ta. takku ' to stay behind’ ; Su. tar Ta. tari ' to severe '; Sa. til Ta. tiir ' to end '; Su. tug ' Ta. tukil ' garment ';Su. tukul Ta. tukai, tukaL ' to crush '; Su. tuku Ta. toku ' to link, assemble '; Su. tu’r Ta. tozu ' cattle stall '; Su. te Ta. ti ' fire '; Su. to Ta. teey, toy ' to come into contact '- Su. ten Ta. taN ' cool '

Su. -t-: Ta. -d-

Su. nita Ta. niidan ' low person '; Su. itima Ta. padimam ' deity, shrine ';

Su. -t-: Ta. -t-

Su. iti Ta. mati ' newmoon, month '; Su. utu-e-a Ta. utayam ' sunrise '; Su. ka-ta-e-a Ta. katai ' self willed expression '

Su. n-: Ta. n-

Su. nar Ta. naar ' fibre, music '; Su. nari Ta. neRi ' moral instructions '; Su. nag Ta. nakku ' to drink '; Su. nam, na’m Ta. nalam ' good fortune '; Su. nig Ta. nika( ' something becoming '; Su. neradu Ta. neradu ' rough, uncivilised '

Su. -n, -n-: Ta. -N, -N-

Su. an Ta. aaN ' the upper part '; Su. uname Ta. uNmai ' reality '; Su. gan Ta. kaaN ' parcel of land '; Su. ten
Ta. taN ' cool '; Su. ban Ta. paaNam ' bow '; Su. an-ub-ta Ta. aNdam ' visible heavens '

Su. -n, -n-: Ta. -n-

Su. anbil Ta. anal ' heat '; Su. munTa. manRu ' assembly '  Su. umun Ta. mannan ' lord '; Su. manus’ Ta. manuci 'woman '

Su. -n-: Ta. -y-

Su. inim Ta. iyam ' word '

Su. -n: Ta. -l

Su. sin Ta. caa ' furrow '; Su. men Ta. meel crown '

Su. p-: Ta. p-

Su. pa Ta. paay ' to water ': Su. pad Ta. paad ' to sing, recite '; Su. pita Ta. paza, paaz ' to make obscure '; Su. pirig Ta. puli ' tiger '; Su. puba Ta. puuvam, puuval ' well '; Su. pu Ta. puu ' flower '

Su. b- - Ta. p-

Su. ba-a Ta. pa.a ' to distribute. portion out '; Su. bad Ta. padar ' to spread '; Su. bal Ta. paal- ' to cross over '; Su. bar Ta. paar ' to see ' ; Su. bar Ta. peer ' great '; Su. bara Ta. puRam ' outside '; Su. bur Ta. puri ' to reveal '

Su. b- : Ta. v-

Su. bal Ta. val ' to be strong '

Su. -b, -b- : Ta. -v-

Su. gaba Ta. kaaval protection '; Su. puba Ta. puuval ' well '; Su. allub Ta. alavan ' crab '; Su. gub Ta. kuvi ' to place, heap up'

Su. -bb- : Ta. -pp-

Su. abbaTa. appu' sea'; Su. dabbe Ta. tappu ' to escape '; Su. abba Ta. appu ' father '

Su. -bb- : Ta. -v-

Su. ab-bal Ta. aval- ' curse '

Su. -b, -b- : Ta. -pp-

Su. su-ub Ta. cuuppu; cappu ' to fondle with lips '; Su. s’ubu Ta. kuppu ' to duck down '; Su. dub Ta. iduppu ' knees ';
Su. dub Ta. tuppu ' to pour out '

Su. m- : Ta. m-

Su. ma Ta. maN ' land '; Su. ma, mah Ta. maa, maha ' exalted '; Su. mar Ta. meeRkku ' west '; Su. mal Ta. mali ' to abound ';
Ta. mir Ta. miLi ' fierce, valour '; Su. mi Ta. mai ' black '; Su. murgu Ta. mutuku ' the back '; Su. mul Ta. min ' to shine, glitter '; Su. mu Ta. muZu ' entire '; Su. mu Ta. maka-, mava- ' offspring '; Su. mu-uru-mu Ta. marumaan ' scion'; Su. mur-ku’ Ta. muruku ' fuel'; Su. me Ta. mey ' reality '; Su. me Ta. mozi ' language '

Su. m- : Ta. n-

Su. mada Ta. naadu ' country '; Su. ma Ta. naavaay ' ship '; Su. me Ta. naavu ' tongue '

Su. -m- : Ta. -m-

Su. ama Ta. ama ' wild ox '; Su. ambar Ta. amparam ' marsh '; Su. urmah Ta. arima ' lion '; Su. uname Ta. uNmai ' reality '; Ta. geme Ta. adimai slave ,  Su. dumu Ta. tamon’ ' son '

Su. -mm- : Ta. -mm-

Su. amma, umma Ta. amma ' mother '

Su. -m- : Ta. -mm-

Su. mamu’ Ta. mammar ' dream, delusion, state of confusion '

Su. -m : Ta. -m

Su. na’-am 'Ta. nalam ' good f'ortune '; Su. kalam Ta. kalam ' boat '; Ta. kalam ' land '; Su. silim Ta. ciilam ' decree, salutations '; Su. dam Ta. t taaram ' wife '; Su. lum Ta. vaLam ' abundance '

Su. r- : Ta. -r-

Su. ri Ta. pari ' to speed along '; Su. ru Ta. uru 'to build '; Su. ri(g) Ta. ari ' to remove ' Su. ri Ta. eri ‘fire’

Su. r- : Ta. -r-

Su. ri Ta. eri ' to cast down '; Su. ra Ta. arai ' to strike '

Su. -r- : Ta. -r-

Su. amaru Ta. maari ' deluge '; Su. ari Ta. ara- 'royal '; Su. aru Ta. aruL 'to bestow '; Su. a-ra Ta. aaraay ' to plan, investigate '; Su. araLi Ta. araLi ' terrifying '; Su. arhus’ Ta. arukan ' benevolent person '; Su. uru Ta. uuru ' town, city '; Su. urudu Ta. arattom ' copper : Su. neradu Ta. neradu ' rough, un-civilised '

Su. -r- : Ta. -R-

Su. a-ra Ta. aaRu ' course, path '; Su. kur Ta. kuuRu ' to alter ': Su. gir Ta. kiiRu ' to stab, flash '; Su. gur Ta. kuRai ' to reduce '

Su. -r : Ta. -r

Su. ir Ta. oor ' moisture '; Su. ur Ta. oor sexual union ': Su. sir Ta. ciir ' song '

Su. -rr- : Ta. -RR-

Su. surru Ta. cuRRu ' to twist, neighbourhood '; Su. sar-ra Ta. koRRan ' king

Su. -r- : Ta. -l-

u. pir(gl Ta. puli ' tiger '

Su. -rr- : Ta. -r-, -r-

Su. kar-ra Ta. karai ' quey ': Su. h^urru Ta. aRu ' to cut '

Su. l- : Ta. -l- esp. V-l-

Su. lah & Ta. ular ' to dry '; Su. la Ta. ilambu, ilavu, ' to hang down '; Su. la Ta. eel' pride '

Su. l- : Ta. -L-, -L

Su. la, lal Ta. aLa ' to weigh '; Su. lum Ta. vaLam ' abundance '; Su. lu Ta.uLu (>aaLu) ' person '; Su. la, ala Ta. aal' power '; Su. ul Ta. uL ' heart, mind '; Su. kalam Ta. kaLam ' land '; Su. dal Ta. taL ' to force forward '


Su. -l-, -l.: Ta. -l- 

Su. aliri Ta. alaRu ' to bleat '; Su. ulu Ta. ulavai ' wind '; Su. kalam Ta. kalam ' boat '; Su. kuli Ta. kuuli, kulam ‘

' company '; Su. al Ta. valai ' net '. . ? 

Su. -l- : Ta. -z- 

Su. ilu Ta. azu ' to cry '; Su. ulu Ta. vizu ' noble '* Su. h^ala^ Ta. valaGku ' to distribute ' (

Su. -l : Ta. -l

Six. anbil Ta. anal ' heat '; Su. ab-bal Ta. aval ' curse '; Su. i-il Ta. iyal ' to lift, move '; Su. dul Ta. udal ' what

is covered '; Su. kal Ta. kal ' precious ' Su. kal Ta. kaal ' to place '; Su. gul, gil Ta. kol ' to kill '

Su. -ll--: Ta. -LL- 

Su. illu Ta. veLLam ' flood '; Su. galla Ta. kaLLan ' rogue ' 

Su. -ll- : TA. -ll-, 

Su. ellu Ta. ellu * bright '

Su. -ll- : Ta. -l- 

Su. allub Ta. alavan ' crab ' ; Su. gilli Ta. kili ' confusion '

Su. z- : Ta. c- 

Su. zi Ta. civan ' life '; Ta. zi Ta. ciiv ' to cut off'; Su. zuh Ta. cuutu ' to steal '

Su. z- : Ta. n- 

Su. zal Ta. naaL; ' day break '; Su. zami Ta. namoo ' praise '; Su. kag Ta. naa, naaku ' centre, mountain, limits '

Su. z-, -z-, -z : Ta. -z- 

Su. zi Ta. vizi ' to wake up '; Su. zi Ta. viiz ' to uproot '; Su. zi Ta. viZu ' faithfill, noble '; Su. ezen

Ta. vizaa 'festival'; Su.azag Ta.azal 'fire'; Su.gaz Ta.kazu'to smite '

Su. z- : Ta. -N- 

Su. zu Ta. uNar ' to know, experience '

Su. -z- : Ta. -n- 

Su. anza Ta. nanai ' be moistured '

Su. uzu Ta. uunu ' flesh '

Su. I^- : Ta. y- 

Su. i^au Ta. yaa ' which '

Su. - ii^- : Ta. -yy-

Su. ai^ I^a Ta. avya ' father '

When the comparative distribution of the consonants were examined using the same lexical items as for the vowels the following ratios (Su : Ta) were obtained.

g:k =-62 :47 g:d = 62 :2 g:n = 62 :3 g:N = 62 :1 g:t = 62 :1

g:R = 62:1 

k : k = 44 : 40 

h^:k = 16:3 h^:v = 16:4 h^:i = 16:1

b:p = 50:27 b:v = 50:7 b:r = 50:1

p:p = 10:9

d:d = 68:39 d:t = 68:23

m:m = 61:55 m:n = 61:4 m:N = 61:1

n:n = 49:19 n:n^= 49:6 n:N = 49:14 n: nj= 49:1 n:1l= 49:1

n : l = 49 : 1 n : m = 49 : 1

l:l = 72:33 l:L = 72:15 l: z, = 72:8 l:r 72:5 l:n = 72: 31

r:r = 96:64 r:R = 96:21 r:L = 96:2 r:l = 96:1 r:t = 96:2

r : R : 2

s ; c = 34 : 30 s:L - 34 : 1  

S’:c = 43:28 s’:k = 43:7 s’:d = 43:2 s’:t = 43:6 s’ :l = 43:1

t:t = 33:30 t:l = 33:2 t:k = 33:1

z:R = 13:6 - z:n^ = 12:2 z:n = 13:1 z:l = 13:1 


If we define the ratios V1: V1, V1: VI V1, and C1:C1 as the coefficient of stability then a higher numerical value can be obtained if the best Dravidian rather than the best Tamil word is chosen. In many cases words from other Dravidian languages especially Kannada correspond much closer to the phonetic structure and meaning of the Sumerian originals. The overall similarity in structure and the considerable preservation of the original semanticism and polysemanticism for as many as four hundred items despite the fact that the Sumerian phonetic structure and meaning are largely reconstructed through secondary sources, is difficult to explain in terms of linguistic influence of some kind or other. The lexical items chosen come from a limited corpus and a larger collection is certainly possible from the rather extensive Sumerian and Akkadian literature. The thesis of linguistic influence is further weakened by the rather remarkable grammatical identities between Sumerian and Tamil and where they differ the satisfactory manner in which we can explain the difference on the assumption that Sumerian is primitive Tamil.

The basic pronouns of Sumerian appear to be ' mu ' ' zu ' and ' an ' meaning ' I ' ' you, thou' and ' he, she ' respectively. The word ' bi ' is used in referring to non-person objects and it can mean ' it's ' ' it ', ' this ', ' these ' depending upon the context. In addition to ' mu ' there is also ' ga ' as first person singular. Caldwell had noted that ' ma ' or' man ' is the basic form of the pronoun in the Scythian group of languages, and attempted to show that this basic term accords well with Dravidian pronouns. I give below in a schematic form the manner in which Tamil pronouns could have evolved from Sumerian.

mu>*mu>naan gu>*nu>nian>avan, avaL

From ' ga ' or ' ga’ ' we can derive ' akam ' njaan ' and’ yaan '.

ga>*ka>akam ga= ngaa > njaan, yaan> or

ga’>*gaan>aan>yaan.Note gasan>aacaan

' njaaan ' is still preserved in Malayalam while ' aan ' occurs in Kannada and numerous other Dravidian languages.

The possessive pronouns in Sumerian are derived by adding the genetive suffix -a and contracting the complex expression.

mu-a>ma ' my ' zu-a> za ' thy ' an-a>na ' his, her '

From these we can derive mu-a>*nu-a>*enu-a>enatu, en

zu-a> *nu-a> nuvva, nun

an-a>avan-a, avaL-a à, avan-atu; avaL-atu 

In Sumerian within the person, non-pcrson distinction the number - singular and plural- is also distinguished with ‘m’ most often occuring as the plural infix. While this is also the case with CaGkam Tamil, the general device of repeating the pronominal clement ‘n’ in order to indicate plurality of persons as it occurs in the second, third person plural and verbal complexes (-ene, -ene-ne) has become obsolete even by the timeof Tolkappiyar.

There is no special morphenein Sumerianto indicate pluralityin general except for the Person-Gender which ‘ene” ( Ta. inam).Normallyeither the basic noun itself or its repetition implied plurality. The repetition of the stem occurs also in connection with verbs more in order to accentuate or exaggerate the action or process implied by the verb. While the repetition of the verbal stems is retained to some extent and at least in CaGkam Tamil ,the noun alone may imply plurality, the habit of repeating the noun stem to indicate plurality has certainly become obsolete. However the existence of ‘kaL’ in Modern Tamil and the peculiarity that it may imply both plurality and greatness can now be given a convincing explanation. In Sumerian we have the superiority implying morph ‘gal’ as in ‘lu-gal’ ‘great man’ “e-gal’ “great house” and the lexeme ‘gan’ meaning ‘plenty, many’. Allowing for the frequent alternation between -n and-l and the well attested ‘g>k’, we have

gal>kaL and gan>kaL

Obviously then ‘kaL’ in Tamil is the merging of evolutes of two distinct words and hence the peculiar semanticism. The honorific sense of’ kaL’ is the contribution of the very ancient ‘gal’ while the plurality sense is the outcome of the extensional usc of kaL (<gan) of post Sumerian times.

In connection with a comparative study of the verb and noun morphology, a peculiarity of the Sumerian scribes must he noted. The cuneiform script was both ideographic and syllabic and complex ideas were written by a combination of signs that became possibly conventionalised. The points of interest for our purpose here is that the relative position of the signs in combination was quite often confused and that the order at which a particular combination was read could be the reverse of the order they are written. Langdon mentions that the scribes wrote ‘ zu+ab ‘ but read ‘ab-zu’ and similarly ‘ gal +lu ‘ was read ‘ lugal ‘.

The abstract noun formativc ‘nam’ or ‘am’ which corresponds to Tamil nam ‘~ ‘ am ‘ or ‘ mam ‘ occur before the noun or verbal stems and this appears to be another instance where the order of reading is the reverse that of writing. The difference in the order seem to occur also in connection with some verbal complexes. The transliterations do not reflect this reversal of order.

e.g. nam-tar-ra ‘ destiny, opportunity ‘ Ta. taruNam, tarumarn?

While in Sumerian ‘nam’ (>am) is the only abstract noun formative, in Tamil the more frequent one is ‘mai’. McAlpin mentions that the morph -me (-mi) served this function in Elamiite. Also in Sumerian we have ‘me’ in the sense of’ essence’, ‘reality’, ‘archetype’ (Ta. mey). It is not clear whether the Tamil ‘mai’ had its origin in the Elamite-me, or an evolute of ‘nam’ or is a special extension of Su. ‘me’ in post Sumerian times.

The monosyllabic words ‘e’ and ‘a’ serve as demonstrativcs as in ‘sangu e’ ‘this or the priest’,’lu e’’ this man’, ‘an’ ‘he,she’. Clearly these can be identified with Tamil ‘i’ and ‘a’ performing the same functions

The suffix -a as well as -e have several functions in Sumerian. ‘-a’ can be appended to noun or verbal stems to form adjectives. e.g. ari ‘king’ ari-a ‘royal’; ul ‘beginning’ ulli-a ‘ancient’. In Tamil we have ‘-a’ performing also the same function as in perjya ‘large’, vaRia ‘poor’ etc. Furthermore in some uses the Su. -a when appended to noun or verbal stems has a permansive or stative function, e.g. tur ‘small ‘ tur-a ‘youth.’; bar ‘to see, look’ bar-ra ‘seeing, looking’. In Tarnil this function has been taken over by ‘-u’ and ‘-ai’, e.g. iLai, ‘to become thin’ iLaivu ‘thinness’; maRai ‘to hide’ maRaivu ‘hiding, disappearance ‘; paar ‘to see, look’ paarvai ‘seeing, looking’. It appears that ‘-a’ is still retained for this function in Northern Malayalam and Telugu e.g. aadu ‘to play ‘ aadda ‘play ‘. ‘Where Su. -a’ or ‘ -e’ is analyzed as genitive case suffix, it can be taken as the primitive of Ta. ‘-a/u’,the sixth category case suffix mentioned in Tolkappiyam, which has the same Semantic

e.g. e lugal-a kings house Ta. ulukal. atu il

Lugal-e mu ‘king’s name ‘ Ta. ulukal. Atunaam.

The locative suffix -aka ‘ which frequently contracts~to -ak. -ka or -a can be identified as Tamil ‘-akam’.

e.g. Girsu-aka, Girsu-alk:, Girisu-a-: in Girsu

Agade-aka, Agade-ka. .4gade-a ‘in Agade’

 c.f. manai-akam ‘in the house’ ur-akam ‘ ‘in or aat the town/city)

The suffixes ‘-I’ and ‘- e’ which most frequentlyoccurwith thepronommal markers ‘n’ and ‘b’ can be identified with Ta.. -aj or -in the second and fifth category of case suffixes in Totkappiyam with considerable overlap in semantic significance. Where -c occurs it can be identified with certainty with Ta. -ai but in the case of -i both identifications, with -ai or -in are possible. Where ‘i’ occurs before the pronorninal markers as in ‘ in ‘, ‘ -ib ‘, ‘-im’ they seem to correspond to Ta. ivan -iv, -irn’ with ‘i’ as the demonstrative element. In Sumerian while the exact significance of -rn- still remains uncertain, -n- and -b- are the pronominalmarkers of persons and non-persons.


The Grammar of -in, -im, -ib : Causative Infix?

The grammatical significance of -in, -im and -lb is again made more complicated by their occurrence ‘in verbal complexes where -i- seem to have temporal connotations. Andbecause of theconfusion in the order between reading and writing, the interpretation we can give depends very much on the contextual condi­tions..


e.g.  im-mas’u-mu si-ba-ni-in-sd. He guided my hand on the clay,.


Ta. iimma. cuurmoo saay,.in


Su. mas’ a-a lu ba-ni-in-e-de ( The man made the kid go down into the water)


Ta. maan aal-a uLu paNNin iziyidee 


Su. ka’-ka’-gal-la-ka mu-ni-in-dab-be-es’ (They seized him at the entrance to the city gate)


Ta. ka-katav kaLLa.aka moonee adaippiniyisu


Su. am-gin ki-en-gi-ra si-mul ba-ni-ib-il (Like a wild bull he lifted his shining horn in Surner)


Ta. amaa Gin kumeru(n)Ra ciiimin iyalivvi


Se’ and ‘Si” The dimensional infixes


   An examination of the data collected by Gene B. Gragg reveals that while ‘se’ ’normally occurs at the end of a noun complex or a noun ‘si’ occurs mainly as an infix in verbal complexes. Gragg also mentions that while ‘se’’ and si’ are morphologically related, their distribution does not support any concordance between them. Numerous occurrences in the corpus support the identification of ‘se’’with the Tamil ’ceey, cey’ meaning ‘place’ and si with the auxiliary verb ceey or ceyyi meaning ‘ do’Grammatically the se’ has striking similarities with the classical Tamil locative case suffix

-kaN, -ku ‘.Though now ‘ceey’ has come to mean simply a distant place and contrasted withaNprior to the evolution of -kaN, ceey seems to have occurred in its place.


e.g.  an-se’towards the sky, up ‘ Ta. aan.cey, vaan.ka~N


ki-se’towards the earth, down Ta. *kiiz-ceey >, kiiz.kan


             bad-se’‘ towards the wall Ta. *paadi.ceey. paadi..kaN


                an-se’ i zi ‘he has risen up ‘. Ta vaanceey ii vizi


Considering the well attested s’ >k before frontal vowels and the frequent nasalization of vowel endings, perhaps -kaNitself can be considered as an evolute of ‘se’”

Se’> *kee> *keN>kaN


Su. si and Ta. cey


The identification of ‘si’ with cev ‘ or ‘ ceyyi‘ and ‘ with ‘ ceyyin seems also highly tenable.


e.g.   si-gal ‘to place’ ‘ Ta. cey kaal or kaal cey


si-in bar-ra‘ (he) gazed ‘ Ta. ceyyin paarvai


In connection with Su. -kewe have the following typical occurrences.

Lugal Uri-ma-ke ’king of Ur’


Ta. uLukal uurimmakeesa’anna-ke‘the heart of An’


Ta. ca.qy aaNukku Agga, dumu Enmebaragesi-ke ‘agga, the son of Enmebaragesi’


Ta. Akkaa taman Enmeyparakesikku


Clearly the semantic properties of Su. -ke is the same as what Tolkaappiyar says says in the following sutra about Ta. -ku


Atuven veeRRumai uyartiNait tokaivayin

Atuven urubukeda kukaram varumee

as the Su. -he occurs predominantly only in connection with persons and gods.The Comitative ‘-da’ and Tamil udan, idu etcIt appears that to a much greater extent than is the case with any other infix, the comitative infix ‘-da’ is represented by a number of signs, some of which may indicate morphophonemic alternation and others of which are probably no more than orthographic free variants of the more common signs. In one of its occurrences it has the sense of ‘to be able to perform the action signified by the verbal stem’ (7). This suggests that ‘-da’ can be equated with Ta. idu as in vant-idu’ cenR-idu’ etc. The variants whichare usually rendered as ‘di’ or ‘de ‘ are prob­ably idu-i‘ and ‘idu-e’where the exact grammatical significance of -i and -e is not very clear. It should be mentioned that ‘de’’ ‘ is also rendered more fully as ‘e-de-e’.The other possible identification follows from the fact that in neobaby­lonian grammatical tradition the ‘ da was equated withwith the Semtic ‘itli meaning with ‘ andthe verb ‘’le’u‘ meaning ‘to be able.’ While for the verbal sense we have ‘idiin the ‘ itti’ sense we have the Tamil odu’, tile third category of case suffix inTolkãppirarn. The following examples will amply justify the identifications.

1. Su. mu na-da ab-beHe speaks to him

Ta. moo *aanotu abayee, abbe>abai, avay mu-da si-hu’lHe waspleased with it

Ta. aan(ee) moo.odu sey uval3. Su.      ba-en-de’-kurHe changed it

Ta. (a) ban idu kuuRu


The Ablative infix -ta


The ablative infix ‘-ta’, except in cases where it is a variant of the comitative infix ‘-da’ and when it has a basic semantic nuance of ‘removal in space or in time” can be identified with Tamil ‘-tu’ as in ‘mara-t-tu’ ‘kunRa-t-tu” etc.

Su. se’  gis’(-a)-ta e’-a

what comes from the heart of a tree

Ta. ca.ay kicuvattu ee.ya


2. Su. ma-ta e’


It can out form me

Ta.emmattu ee

3. Enlil-le kur-ta nam-ta an-e

Enlil indeed comes down out of the mountain

 Ta. eeNvali-ee  kunRattu  nanta aNaiyee

c.f. ‘ kunRattu izitarum aruvi   ( NaRRiNai)

The ‘-ta-’ in verbal complexes can be identified with the causative infix ‘ -tu- ‘.


Su. en-e kalarn-ta kar-im-la-an-e
The lord made a quay rise up out of the country

Ta.  kalammattu karaiyum eettuvan

Sometimes ‘ ta ‘ is purely the syllable ‘du”

e.g. kur-ta silim-ma ni un-ta e’?
(who) ascends safely from the nether world ?

kunRattu cIlamma nii  eer  unduu?

Though the discussions thus far on the lexicaI and grammatical correspondences are by no means adequate or exhaustive, sufficient has been said to make  a large number of sentences intelligible within the semantical and grammatical framework of Tamil. Sometimes even whole texts and passages can he rendered into a form of Tamil not far removed from the dignity and sophistication of the classical CaGkam Tamil. The following passage occurs as the introduction in Sulgi Hymn B transliterated and translated by G. R. Castellino

I. Lugal-e mu-ni nig-du-se’
The king’s name according to what is becoming

2. u su-du inim  pa-e ag-de’
In order to bring(it) to light, for distant days, by means of word

3. Sulgi lugal- Uri-ma-ke
Sulgi’s , the King of Ur

4. a- na  za-mi-bi-im kalag-na  sir-bi-irn
This is the song of his power, the hymn of his valour

5. gal-an-zu nig sag-bi-se e-a-na mu-da-ri-bi-im
Of the wise, in all things foremost, this is the lasting record.
 A Tamil rendering could be:

1.       ¯Ù¸ûÇ(Ð) ¿¡Á¢¨É ¿¢ýÈЧºö

uLukaLLa(tu) naaminai ninRatu ceey

2.      ¯ö ÝÎ þÂõ À¡÷.² ¬ì¸¢ÎÅ

uy cuudu iyam aakkiduva

3.      Ýø¸¢ ¯Ù¸û °Ã¢õÁ§¸


Sulgi uLukaL uurimmakkee


4.      Å ¬ýÉ ¿¡Á£ôÀ¢Âõ ¸¡Ç¸ ¬ýÉ º£÷À¢Âõ


    Vaya aanna naamiippiyam kaaLaka aanna siirbiyam


  1. ¸Äý Ý ¿¢¸ ¦ºõÀ¢§ºö ²¬É ӾâÀ£Âõ


kalan cuu nika sembiseey eeaana mutariibiyam



As this passage would indicate there can be little doubt that Sumerian is primitive or Archaic  Tarnil with a surprising degree of closeness to Classical Tamil. The differences that undoubtedly exist are best attributed to evolutionary changes that should have taken place during the period of second CaGkam which could not be less than fifteen centuries.


The Academies

Doubts had been cast on the existence of a literary academy in the period of Tolkappzyam and CaGkam literature. However eminent Draviodiologists are beginning to accept the historicity of the academies. Kamil Zvelebil in his ‘Tamil Literature’ remarks: ‘The tradition of a literary Academy appears in both literary and epigraphic sources, and it is obvious that it cannot be dismissed as pure fiction. Normative and critical activities in the field of early classical Tamil literature are an established fact.’

With regard to the existence of the first Academy, there are literary evidences from Sumerian texts. In Sulgi Hymn B, the literary institutions “e  gestu Nidaba ‘the house of learning of Nidaba’, ‘e-dub-ba’  ‘the school’, ki-gir ‘the library’, and ki-umun’ the Academy’ are clearly distinguished. The word umun which is also rendered as ‘ rnun is certainly the primitive of Ta. manni, an assembly. Also there arc evidences to show that ‘rnu,~ was particularly connected with singers under the direct patronage of the king. G. R. Castellino, who mentions this in his commentary cites the followiiig line in his support: nar-lugai e-umun-gu-la-kene

wool stipends to the singers of the King in the great ‘ academy ‘

There are numerous literary references in the classical Tamil texts to the existence of the First Academy in Kumari under the patronage of numerous Pandian kings. It appears that the fabled land of Kumari is none other than Sumeru or at least a name given to the newly colonized country in memory of that which they lost to the flood.


It appears the fabled land of Kumari is identified with Sumeru. The word Sumer is drived by the Sumerilogists  from the

 primitive ki-en-,gi’.


 Following the phonetic changes in another word of similar phonetic structure viz. dinger>dimmer, we can derive an

intermediate ‘kimmer’ and ‘kumer’ between ‘ki-en-egi-’ and Sumer.




The ‘kumer’ is surprisingly  close .Tu.kumeru  and Ta. Kumari, mean­ing agricultural tracts or cultivation on the hills, a meaning that fits well the predominantly agricultural land of Sumer.


Again the Sumerians called themselves rather proudly ‘”sag gig-ga’’ the black headed  people.  Now the word ‘kalingka’ which was used to  describe the Dravidians about the time of King Asoka, appears to be an evolute of ‘gig-ga’


gig-ga> *kiringka> *karinggka >kalingka


Also the word Tamil itself seems to be an evolute of Dumuzi, one of the most celebrated gods of Surner. Dumuzi or Tammuz in Semitic is probably a deified king, who seems to have led a highly romantic but tragic life. His death in the hands of a few rogues, beautifully narrated in ‘Dumuzi’s Dream’, must have touched the Sumerians very deeply for a cult grew up around his death where year after year his death was mourned, lamented and wailed. This cult lasted till the very end of Sumeria and later spread far and wide. Similar cults grew up among the Greeks, Phoenecians, Egyptians and other tribes of ancient Middle East. What is significant for our purpose here  is that the Telugu Dravidians called the Tami1~ aravaalu meaning noise makers ‘. It may be possible that the noise they made was ritualized wailing, the oppaari,  one of the chief features of the cult of Dumuzi. If this is true then initially Dumuzi must have been a sectarian name rather like Saiva Sakta, Vaishnava etc. The phonetic laws operative in Dravidian offer no problem in this derivation.


Dumuzi> *Dumuzi ~ * Tamuzi.> * Tarnuz> Tamiz


If th~e evidences adduced so far  and that which could be adduced from a mass of archaeological and historical data, the striking similarities in literary conventions, religion, philosophy, music etc. are sufficiently convincing to accept the  thesis that Sumerian is in fact the PSDr then one important controversy finds an immediate solution. In Sumerian the. phonemic character of the voiced plosives is undeniable. And considering the numerous occurrences in the initial position Caldwell’s hypothesis about the non-occurrence of initial voiced stops in PDr is certainly wrong and that the position is more like that described by Jules Bloch. The following remarks of S. K. Chatterji in his ‘Old Tamil, Ancient Tamil and Primitive Dravidian” seem to be the closest description of the actual situation.The position for Tamil would appear to have been like this. The unvoiced and voiced stops were quite different phonemes in Primitive

Dravidian and in “Ancient Tamil” of the pre-Cangkam or pre-Tolkappjyam period, and either sort could begin words. This situation, along with other phonetic characteristics (e.g. the retention of s-), marked “Ancient Tamil” of the  centuries immediately before and after Christ’. Also ‘Thus, in the “Ancient Tamil period, B.C. 500/600 A.D. we have not only initial and intervocalic s (which dropped from speech entirely by at Least 400 A.D.) but also initial voiced stops  b- d- g- j- and intervocal unvoiced stops ~-p-, -t-, -l-, -k-,-c- “


We can justifiably question Chatterji’s mocking disbelief in the earlier  Cangkams and the times he ascribes to Ancient Tamii, but his general  observation about the phonetic structure is well substantiated by Sumerian. Considering the similarity in behaviour of  s’ and c it is possible that what a~ctual1y featured in Sumerian was /c/ but rendered as  s’ in Akkadian.  Also considering the correspondences uzu-uuju, zi-jiva and z> R, N, ~z, c, we can postulate a /j/ in PSDr with a phonetic value [dz] . Of course more exten­sive investigations will be necessary before something definite can be said.


Considering the occurrences of dur/tur, gum/kurn, gdl/kdl, we can specu­late that the process of devoicing the initial voiced stops already started at the end of tile third millennium B.C. itself.  By the time of Tolkappivam Sumerian had probably differentiated into Old Tamil, Kanada and Telugu with Kanada and Telugu still retaining some words with voiced stops Tamil without probably any. It is the residual character of the lexernes with voiced stops that should be brought in to explain the paucity of suitable etyrnas with these phonemes.




Alster Bendt (1972) : Dumuzi’s Dream (1974) The Ins~tructions of Suruppak,  Copenhagen, Akademiisk Forlag


Burrow T. and M. B. Emeneau; Dravidian Etymoologicai Dictionary (1960) and Supple­ment (1958: ~Oxford, Clarendon Press.)‘Caldwell R. 1913 : A Compar~ative Grammar of the Dravidian or S. Indian Family of Language~s Rep. by Univ. of Madras.

Castellino G.R (1972) Two Sulgi Hymns B&C ; Instito Di Studi Del Vicino Orientte; Univ Di Roma


Chatterji S.K. Old Tamil, Ancient Tamil and Primitive Dravidian. Tamil Culture Vol. V. No.2 (1956)


Falkenstein A. (1959) Das Sumerische Leiden, E.J. Brill


Gragg Gene B. (1973) Sumerian Dimensional Infixes; Verlag Burtzon and Berker Kevelaer.


Kramer, Samuel N. Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur ; The Oriental Ins. Of the Univ. of Chicago; Assyriological Studie No. 12


Landsberger, Benno (1974) Three Essays on the Sumerians; Trnas. By Maria dej ; Ellis Undena Publications, Los Angeles.


Langdon S. (1911) Sumerian Grammar and Chrestomathy; Librairie Paul Geuthner, Paris


MacAlpin David W. (1974) Towards Proto-Elamo Dravidian; Language 50


Poebel, Arno (1940) Grammatical Texts; Univ. Museum, Philadelphia


Cuntarmuurtti K. (Ed) Tolkaappiyam (Col) Comm. By Ceenaavaraiyar.


Tamil Lexicon (1926) Univ. of Madras, Chennai


Tyler Stephen A. Dravidian and Uralian: The Lexical Evidence; Language 44


Zvelebil Kamil V. (1970) Comparative Dravidian Phonology; Caroline Univ. Prague, Moulton Paris


                      (1974) Tamil Literature; Otto Harrasowitz, Wiesbaden