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Tamil phrasebook

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Tamil (தமிழ் tamiḻ) is the language closest to Proto-Dravidian among the Dravidian language family. Spoken predominantly by Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore, it has smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. As of 1996, it was the eighteenth most spoken language, with over 74 million speakers worldwide. It is one of the official languages of India, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world. It has been described as "the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past" and having "one of the richest literatures in the world". Tamil literature has existed for over 2000 years. The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and hero stones date from around the 3rd century BCE. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BCE – 300 CE. Tamil language inscriptions written c. 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE have been discovered in Egypt, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The two earliest manuscripts from India, to be acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005 were in Tamil. More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. It has the oldest extant literature amongst other Dravidian languages. The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to its being described as "one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world."

Tamil is closely related to Malayalam, and more distantly related to Kannada and Telugu. It is not related to the languages spoken in northern India, though it does contain a large number of loan words from Sanskrit.

Pronunciation guide[edit]

Vowels[edit]

like 'a' in "apple", 'a' in "cake", "a" in "amen"
like 'e' in "magazine", 'e' in "bed" (often silent at the end of a word)
like 'i' in "pine", 'i' in "fin"
like 'ow' in "low", like 'o' in "top"
like 'oo' in "hoop", like 'u' in "cup"

Consonants[edit]

like 'b' in "bed"
like 's' in "supper", 'k' in "kid"
like 'd' in "dog"
like 'ph' in "phone"
like 'g' in "go", 'j' in "jello"
like 'h' in "help" (often silent in the UK and other Commonwealth countries)
like 'dg' in "edge"
like 'c' in "cat"
like 'l' in "love"
like 'm' in "mother"
like 'n' in "nice"
like 'p' in "pig"
like 'q' in "quest" (with "u", almost always)
like 'r' in "row", like 'r' in "feather" (often silent in the UK and other Commonwealth countries at end of word)
like 'ss' in "hiss", like 'z' in "haze"
like 't' in "top"
like 'v' in "victory"
like 'w' in "weight"
like 'cks' in "kicks", like 'z' in "haze" (at beginning of a word)
like 'y' in "yes", like 'ie' in "pie", like 'ee' in "flee"
like 'z' in "haze"

Common diphthongs[edit]

ay 
like 'ay' in "say"
ai 
like 'ay' in "say"
au 
like 'awe'
ee 
like 'ee' in "see"
ei 
like 'ay' in "say"
ey 
like 'ay' in "say", like 'ee' in "see"
ie 
like 'ee' in "see"
oi 
like 'oy' in "boy"
oo 
like 'oo' in "food", like 'oo' in "good"
ou 
like 'ow' in "cow", like 'oo' in "food", like 'o' in "cot"
ow 
like 'ow' in "cow"
oy 
like 'oy' in "boy"
ch 
like 'ch' in "touch"
sh 
like 'sh' in "sheep"
th 
like 'th' in "this", like 'th' in "those"
gh 
like 'f' in "fish"
ph 
like 'f' in "fish"

Phrase list[edit]

Basics[edit]

Hello. 
வணக்கம்
Vaṇakkam
Hello. (informal
ஹாய் (hāy) (Hi) (as used in English)
How are you? 
எப்படி இருக்கீங்க?
Eppaṭi irukkīṅka?
Fine, thank you. 
நல்லா இருக்கின்றேன்
Nallā irukkinṟēn
What is your name? 
உங்க பெயர் என்ன ?
ungGa pEyaru enna?
My name is ______ . 
என் பெயர் ______
en pEyaru ______
Nice to meet you. 
தங்களை சந்தித்தது மிக்க மகிழ்ச்சி
ThanGala santhithadhu mikka magizhcchi
Please. 
தயவு செய்து
thayavu Seithu
Thank you. 
நன்றி.
nandri.
You're welcome. 
Nalvaravu
நல்வரவு
Yes. 
Āmām. ஆமாம்
No. 
Illai. இல்லை
Excuse me. (getting attention
mannikkavum. மன்னிக்கவும்
Excuse me. (begging pardon
thayavu seithu. தயவு செய்து
I'm sorry. 
Ennai mannikavum. என்னை மன்னிக்கவும்
Goodbye 
pOi varukirEn. போய் வருகிறேன்
Goodbye (informal
varEn. வரேன்
See you tomorrow 
nalai parkalam. நாளை பார்க்கலாம்
I can't speak name of language [well]. 
ennaal name of language Uraiyada Iyalaadhu. (formal)
என்னால் name of language உரையாட இயலாது
enakku name of language pesa theriyaathu (informal)
எனக்கு name of language பேச தெரியாது
Do you speak English? 
AangilathiL UraiyaaduveergaLa?
Is there someone {here/around-here} who speaks English? 
ingGe evaravathu AangilathiL UraiyaaduveergaLa?
Help! 
uthavi veNdum உதவி வேண்டும்.
Look out! 
Sariyaaga paar. சரியாக பார்
Good morning. 
kaalai vaNakkam. காலை வணக்கம்
Good evening. 
maalai vaNakkam. மாலை வணக்கம்
Good night (to sleep
nalliravu
Secret. 
Ragasiyam ரகசியம்
I'm looking forward to... 
Naan yethirparthu konde irukirEn நான் எதிர்பார்த்து கொண்டு இருக்கிறேன்
Have a pleasant journey. 
Ungal payanam nandraaga amayattum. உங்கள் பயணம் நன்றாக அமையட்டும்
I wish you have a nice day 
Intha Nal Iniyia Nalaga Malarum இந்த நாள் இனிய நாளாக மலரும்
I don't understand. explain clearly / again 
Puriyalavillai. thelivaaga KuurungaL/ thirumbavum KuurungaL புரியவில்லை தெளிவாக கூறுங்கள்/திரும்பவும் கூறுங்கள்
Where is the toilet? 
Toilet/Kazhivarai/othukkam engGe irruku டாய்லெட்/கழிவறை/ஒதுக்கம் எங்கே இர்ருக்கு
what to do now? 
ippozhuthu enna seyya இப்போது என்ன செய்ய
Eagerly waiting for your arrival 
Thangalin Varugaiyai Avaludan ethirparkirEn! தங்களின் வருகையை ஆவலுடன் எதிர்ப்பார்க்கிறேன்!

At this point, the fake phoneticizations of English are going to stop, and be replaced by ellipses.

Problems[edit]

Leave me alone. 
ennai thaniyaaga vidungaL.
Don't touch me! 
ennai thodaathe;(informal) ennai thodaatheergaL (Formal)
I'll call the Police. 
Kavalthuraiyai azhaipEn
I need your help. 
ungGaL udhavi vEndum. (formal) ; ungGaLudaiya Udhavi vEndum -(Informal)
It's an emergency. 
migavum nerukadiyana nilai
I don't know where I am 
naan engee erukiren endru theriyalavillai ( equal to I'm lost)
I lost my bag
en paiyai ThulaithuvittEn
I missed my "Bag"  
En pai Thulainthuvittathu.
I lost my wallet. 
en Pana Paiyai ThulaithuvittEn.
I'm sick. 
en odambu sariyaga illai.
I've been injured. 
enakku kaayam ErpattuLLathu.
I need a doctor. 
enakku oru Maruthuvar vEndum
Can I use your phone? 
ungaL Kaipeesiyai naan PayanpaduthikoLLaLaama?

Eagerly waiting

Kaaththirukkiren

Numbers[edit]

one ஒன்று (ondru)
two இரண்டு (irendu)
three மூன்று (moondru)
four (naangu)
five (ainthu)
six (aaru)
seven (yEzhu)
eight (yettu)
nine (onbathu)
10 
ten (pathu)
11 
eleven (pathinondru)
12 
twelve (pannirendu)
13 
thirteen (pathimoondru)
14 
fourteen (pathinaangu)
15 
fifteen (pathinainthuu)
16 
sixteen (pathinaaru)
17 
seventeen (pathinEzhu)
18 
eighteen (pathinettu)
19 
nineteen (patthonbathu)
20 
twenty (irupathu)
21 
twenty one (irupatthu onnu)
22 
twenty two (irupatthu rendu)
23 
twenty three (irupatthu moonu)
30 
thirty (mup-ppathu)
40 
forty (naar-pathu)
50 
fifty (iam-pathu)
60 
sixty (aru-pathu)
70 
seventy (ezhu-pathu)
80 
eighty (en-pathu)
90 
ninety (thonnooru)
100 
one hundred (nooru)
200 
two hundred (iru nooru)
300 
three hundred (mun nooru)
1000 
one thousand (aayiram)
2000 
two thousand (rendaayiram)
100,000 
hundred thousand (noorayiram) {Indian system}
1,000,000 
one million (pathu noorayiram)
10,000,000 
ten million (oru kOdi) {Indian system}
1,000,000,000 
one thousand million in UK, one billion in USA (Nigarputham)
1,000,000,000,000 
one billion in UK, one trillion in USA (Karpam)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
number _____ (...)
half 
half (arai)
less 
less (kuraivu/ kuraivaaga)
more 
more (athigam)

Time[edit]

now 
ippO(...)
later 
appuram(...)
before 
munnaadi(...)
after 
pinnaadi(...)
morning 
kaalai(...)
afternoon 
mathiyam / mathiyaanam(...)
evening 
malai / saayingkalam(...)
night 
iravu / raatthiri(...)

Clock time[edit]

one o'clock AM 
kaalai oru mani (...)
two o'clock AM 
kaalai rendu mani (...)
noon 
mathiyam / mathiyaanam (...)
one o'clock PM 
mathiyam / mathiyaanam oru mani (...)
two o'clock PM 
mathiyam / mathiyaanam rendu mani (...)
midnight 
nalliravu / nadu-raatthiri (...)

Duration[edit]

_____ minute(s) 
_____ nimisham (...)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ mani (...)
_____ day(s) 
_____ naal(...)
_____ week(s) 
_____ vaaram (...)
_____ month(s) 
_____ maasam (...)
_____ year(s) 
_____ varusham, aandu (...)

Days[edit]

today 
indru / innaikki
yesterday 
netru / nEtthaikki
tomorrow 
naalai / naalaikki
this week 
intha vaaram
last week 
pona vaaram
next week 
adutha vaaram
Sunday 
nyaayiru
Monday 
thingGal
Tuesday 
sevvaai
Wednesday 
puthan
Thursday 
vyaalan
Friday 
velli
Saturday 
sani

Months[edit]

All dates provided below are approximate, varying by one or two days in the Gregorian Calendar depending on adjustments made to the calendar each year, to bring it in alignment with astronomic observations.

January 
15th January to 15th February (Thai)
February 
15th February to 15th March (Maasi)
March 
15th March to 15th April (Panguni)
April 
15th April to 15th May (Chiththirai)
May 
15th May to 15th June (Vaikasi)
June 
15th June to 15th July (Aani)
July 
15th July to 15th August (Aadi)
August 
15th August to 15th September (Aavani)
September 
15th September to 15th October (Purattasi)
October 
15th October to 15th November (Aippasi)
November 
15th November to 15th December (Kaarthikai)
December 
15th December to 15th January (Margazhi)

The year starts on the first day of the month of Chiththirai, usually the 15th of April.

Writing time and date[edit]

Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English.

Colors[edit]

black 
karuppu (...)
white 
vellai (...)
gray 
saambal (...)
red 
sivappu (...)
blue 
neelam (...)
yellow 
manJal (...)
green 
pachai (...)
orange 
narantam (...)
purple 
kathatipu, oodha (...)
brown 
manniram/pazhuppu (...)

Transportation[edit]

Bus and train[edit]

How much is a ticket to _____? 
_____ ku ticket evlavu? (...)
One ticket to _____, please. 
_____ ku oru ticket kudunga, please. (...)
Where does this train/bus go? 
intha train/bus engae p'O'guthu? (...)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
_____ ku train/bus engae? (...)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
intha train/bus _____ la nikkumaa? (...)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
_____ ku train/bus epp'O' kelambum? (...)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
epp'O' train/bus _____ vanthu sErum? (...)
let's embark on ship? 
kappalill earalama?
but let's -------- on bus? 
buslill earalama? please everyone fill that one.


Directions[edit]

how to go there ? : anga eppadi povathu ?

How do I get to _____ ? 
_____ ku eppadi pOvathu? (...)
...the train station? 
...pugai vandi nilayam (...)
...the bus station? 
... paerunthu nilayam (...)
...the airport? 
...vimaana nilayam (...)
...downtown? 
...downtown (...)
...the youth hostel? 
...illaingar viduthi(...)
...the _____ hotel? 
...thangum veduthi (...)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British thootharagam(...)
Where are there a lot of... 
enga niraiya... (...) irukkum?
...hotels? 
thangum viduthi? (...)
...restaurants? 
unavagam (...)
...bars? 
mathu arundhum idam (...)
...sites to see? 
...paarkum idam? (...)
Can you show me on the map? 
Map la kaata mudiyumaa? (...)
street 
theru (...)
Turn left. 
idathu pakkam thirumbungGa. (...)
Turn right. 
valathu pakkam thirumbungGa. (...)
left 
idam (...)
right 
valam (...)
straight ahead 
nEraa (...)
towards the _____ 
_____ pakkam (...)
past the _____ 
_____ thaandi (...)
before the _____ 
_____ munnaadi (...)
Watch for the _____. 
_____ ku paarunga. (...)
intersection 
intersection (...)
north 
vadakku (...)
south 
therku (...)
east 
kilakku (...)
west 
mErku (...)
uphill 
mEdu (...)
downhill 
pallam (...)

Taxi[edit]

Taxi! 
Taxi! (...)
Take me to _____, please. 
_____ ku kooti ponga, please. (...)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
_____ ku evalo aagum? (...)
Take me there, please. 
anga kooti ponga, please. (...)

Lodging[edit]

Do you have any rooms available? 
Room irukkaa? (...)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
oru / rendu aalukku room evlavu aagum? (...)
Does the room come with... 
... roomOda varumaa? (...)
...bedsheets? 
...pOrvai (...)
...a bathroom? 
...kuliyalarai (...)
...a telephone? 
...tholaipesi (...)
...a TV? 
...tholaikaatchi (...)
eg
Does the room come with bedsheets? ; pOrvai roomOda varumaa?
May I see the room first? 
muthalla rooma pakkalamaa? (...)
Do you have anything ....? 
itha vida ..... vEra irukkaa? (...)
...quieter? 
...amaithiyaa (...)
...bigger? 
...perusaa (...)
...cleaner? 
...sutthamaa (...)
...cheaper? 
...kuraivaa (...)
OK, I'll take it. 
seri, eduthukarEn. (...)
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
_____ iravu(kal) thangGuvEn. (...)
Can you suggest another hotel? 
vEra hotel Ethaavathu sollunga? (...)
Do you have a safe? 
locker irukkaa? (...)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
kalai-tiffin/night-saapadu saEtthaa? (...)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
kalai-tiffin/night-saapadu eththanai manikku? (...)
Please clean my room. 
Room suththam pannunga. (...)
Can you wake me at _____? 
enna _____ maniku eluppi vida mudiyumaa? (...)
I want to check out. 
Check out panrEn. (...)

Money[edit]

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? (neengGa america/austhiralia/canadia naattu dollar-gala yEtrukkolveergalaa?)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Do you accept British pounds? (neengGa british pounds-a yEtrukolveergalaa?...)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Do you accept credit cards? (neengGa credit card-a yEtrukkolveergalaa?)
Can you change money for me? 
Can you change money for me? (ennOda paNatthukku chillarai maatthi thara mudiyumaa?)
Where can I get money changed? 
Where can I get money changed? (engGa enakku chillarai kadaikkum?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Can you change a traveler's check for me? (neengGa yenakkaaga payanigal check-a maatthi thara mudiyyumaa?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? (payanikal check-a ennala engGa maattha mudiyum)
What is the exchange rate? 
What is the exchange rate? (Exchange Rate yenna?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM) (nearby)? 
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? ((pakkatthula) ATM enGa irukku?)

Eating[edit]

A table for one person/two people, please. 
oru maejai oru nabarukku allathu irandu paerukku, thayavusaithu
Can I look at the menu, please? 
naan intha menuvai parkkalama, thayavuseithu...
Can I look in the kitchen? 
intha samayyal arayyinai naan parkkalaamaa?...
Is there a house specialty? 
Ethavathu speciala irruka
I'm a vegetarian. 
Naan saivam
I don't eat pork. 
Naan pork/panrikari sappida maattaen.
I don't eat beef. 
Naan beef/maattukkari sappida maattaen
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard
Ennna koriva uthunga
fixed-price meal 
Allavu saapaadu
unlimited meal 
Mulu saapaadu
à la carte 
à la carte (...)
breakfast 
breakfast/kaaLai saapaadu
lunch 
lunch (madhiam saapaadu)
tea (meal
tea (theyneer)
supper 
supper (maalai unavu)
I want _____. 
Ennaku _____ vendum
I want a dish containing _____. 
I want a dish containing _____. (...)
chicken 
chicken (kozhi kunju)
beef 
beef (maatirachi)
fish 
fish (meen)
ham 
ham (...)
sausage 
sausage (...)
cheese 
cheese (Paalkatti)
eggs 
eggs (muttai)
salad 
salad (pachai kaikari)
(fresh) vegetables 
pachai kaikari
(fresh) fruit 
pazham
bread 
bread (bannu)
toast 
toast (muru murunu)
noodles 
noodles (...)
rice 
satham
beans 
beans (avarai)
May I have a glass of _____? 
Ennakku oru glass ______ vennum.
May I have a cup of _____? 
Ennakku oru cup ______ vennum.
May I have a bottle of _____? 
Ennakku oru bottle ______ vennum.
coffee 
coffee (...)
tea (drink
teh / tea (...)
juice 
pazharasam / juice (...)
(bubbly) water 
thanni
water 
thanni
beer 
beer (...)
Toddy 
"KALLU"
red/white wine 
red/white wine (...)
May I have some _____? 
May I have some _____? (...)
salt 
uppu
black pepper 
milagu
butter 
vennai (This some times can be a insulting word.)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
Excuse me, waiter? (...)
I'm finished. 
I'm finished. (naan mudithu vitean)
It was delicious. 
Rusiya irunthathu
Please clear the plates. 
Plate clear panirunga
The check, please. 
The check, please. (...)

Bars[edit]

Do you serve alcohol? 
(madhu inga kidaikkuma?)
Is there any table servicer? 
(YaravaDhu table servicer irukaanGala?)
A beer/two beers, please. 
(oru beer/rendu beers, dhayavu seidhu.)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
(oru glass sivappu/vellai wine, dhayavu seidhu.)
A pint, please. 
(oru pint, dhayavu seidhu.)
A bottle, please. 
(oru bottle, dhayavu seidhu. )
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please.
(_____ matrum _____, dhayavu seidhu.)
whiskey 
whiskey (...)
rum 
rum ("...")
water 
("thanni")
club soda 
club soda (...)
tonic water 
tonic water (...)
orange juice 
orange juice (...)
Coke (soda
Coke (...)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
Do you have any bar snacks? ('inga snacks irukka thanni adikka')
One more, please. 
innumonu , dhayavu seidhu
please,one more 
dhayavu seidhu,innumonu
Another round, please. 
(innum oru round, dhayavu seidhu )
When is the closing time? 
(entha manikku muduvinga? (or) mudum neram enna?)

Shopping[edit]

Do you have this in my size? 
(Unga kitta indha madhiri en size/aalavu iruka)
How much is this? 
(idhu yevalavu? (or) idhu/idhan vilai enna/yevalavu)
That's too expensive. 
aadhu romba vilai athigam.
Would you take _____? 
_____ nengal eduppingala?
expensive 
athigam
cheap 
koranjadhu
I can't afford it. 
naan kuduka mudiyadhu.
I don't want it. 
ennaku idhu vendaam.
You're cheating me. 
nee ennai yemathikkitu irrukirai.
I'm not interested. 
enakku viruppam illai.
OK, I'll take it. 
sari, naan idhai eduthu kolgiren.
Can I have a bag? 
ennaku oru pai thara mudiyuma.
Do you ship (overseas)? 
neengal kadal kadanthu payanippavara.
I need... 
ennaku theyvai
...toothpaste. 
pal podi
...a toothbrush. 
...a toothbrush. (...)
...tampons. 
...tampons. (...)
...soap. 
...soap. (...)
...shampoo. 
...shampoo. (...)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
vali nivarani marundhu.
...cold medicine. 
...Jalathosha marunthu. (...)
...stomach medicine. 
vayiru vali marundhu.
...a razor. 
...a razor. (...)
...an umbrella. 
kudai. (...)
...sunblock lotion. 
...sunblock lotion. (...)
...a postcard. 
...oru Anjal Attai. (...)
...postage stamps. 
...postage Anjal Thalai. (...)
...batteries. 
...batteries. (...)
...writing paper. 
Ezhuthum thaal.
...a pen. 
Ezhuthukol.
...English-language books. 
...aangila putthagam.
...English-language magazines. 
aangila ithaz
...an English-language newspaper. 
aangila Seydhithaal.
...an English-English dictionary. 
aangila-angilam agaraadhi.

Driving[edit]

I want to rent a car. 
Vaadagaikku oru car venum. (...)
Can I get insurance? 
Enakku kaapidu kidaikumA? (...)
stop (on a street sign
Nillu (...)
one way 
oru vazhi paadhai (...)
yield 
vilaichal(...)
no parking 
vaaganam nirkka thadai(...)
speed limit 
vega thadai (...)
gas (petrol) station 
erivayu nilayam (...)
petrol 
petrol (...)
diesel 
diesel (Diesel is the name who found Diesel...so it should be same in Tamil too)

Authority[edit]

I haven't done anything wrong. 
Naan oru thappum seyya villai
It was a misunderstanding. 
Neenga thappa ninachuteenga. (...)
Where are you taking me? 
Ennai enga kootikittu poreenga
Am I under arrest? 
Ennai kaithu seyringala'
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
naan oru America/Australia/British/Canadia kudimagan. (...)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
naan America/Australia/British/Canadia embassy/consulate kitta pesanum. (...)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Naan valakaringarodu pesa vendum
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Naan ippothu abaratham kattalaama?
This Tamil phrasebook is a usable article. It explains pronunciation and the bare essentials of travel communication. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.