Monday, May 26, 2014

Tamil English Slang

My second set of letters in the alphabet are going to be about Tamil English slang.

Tamil is a Dravidian language and one of the oldest surviving classical languages. Tamil is the official language of the state of Tamil nadu, Puducherry and the Andamans and Nicobar islands in India besides being an official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The Tamil I am familiar with and conversant in, is peppered with words from the English language. Language is greatly influenced by the booming Tamil movie industry and vice versa. Like in the movies, everything is over the top - bright contrasting colours, incongruous mix of modern and ancient or eastern and western, larger than life superstars who have a cult following.
You might recognise the English words but they don't always have the same meaning that they have in English . It's slang which is unique.  The first four alphabets.
The first four alphabets.
I've cut out 5cm x 5cm peces of paper from Tamil magazines and stuck them on cartridge paper. It's a visual representation of the mix of Tamil and English.
I've then stitched sequins onto the paper squares in the shape of the lower case of the alphabet and used a marker to give the alphabet a bit more 'presence'.

a - is for assaulta
definition - casually.... without a care. Nothing to do with actually assaulting or bashing someone.

b - is for blade.
definition - used widely to refer to anything that causes a combination of boredom and pain.

c - is for colour.
definition - soft drinks, Fanta, Pepsi etc.

d - dress.
definition - 'outfit' including men's apparel!  


  1. Love the letters and the ideas behind them - just wonderful. Thanks!

  2. This will be a very fascinating set of letters!

  3. It's going to be some book. Thank you for your comments Fiona and Sandy.

  4. Anita here--All I can say is WOW! Can't wait to see (and learn) more.

  5. I love how your alphabet reflects where you are living in so many ways. I'm looking forward to learning more words in Tamil. Interesting, too, to note the dissimilarities between the Tamil meaning & the English one - I wonder if there are tenuous links to be found (like "colour" referring to sodas b/c they are often in colorful cans/bottles??).


Thank you for taking the time to comment - we appreciate hearing from you!