Tamil character notes

Updated 20 July, 2017 • tags tamil, scriptnotes

This page lists characters in the following Unicode block and provides information about them. It is not authoritative, peer-reviewed information – these are just notes I have gathered or copied from various places.

For information about Tamil script and its features in general, see the companion document Tamil Script Notes.

To view this page as intended, you need a Tamil font. Click the blue vertical bar at the bottom right of the page to apply other fonts, if you have them on your system. For transcriptions I recommend the excellent and free Doulos SIL font.

If you click on any red example text, you will see at the bottom right of the page a list of the characters that make up the example.

To find a character by codepoint, type #char0000 at the end of the URL in the address bar, where 0000 is a four-figure, hex codepoint number, all in uppercase. Or type the hex number here:

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Consonants

U+0B95 TAMIL LETTER KA

Tamil vallinam consonant

k typically word-initial and in a doubled consonant.

ɡ x ɣ h in other places.

ISO 15919 transcription k

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B99 TAMIL LETTER NGA

Description in the Unicode standard:

• also denotes the measure kuruni/marakkaal

Tamil mellinam consonant

ŋ

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B9A TAMIL LETTER CA

Tamil vallinam consonant

ʧ typically when word-initial and in a doubled consonant.

ʤ ʃ s ʒ in other places.

ISO 15919 transcription c

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B9C TAMIL LETTER JA

Tamil grantha consonant

ʤ

z when preceded by [U+0B83 TAMIL SIGN VISARGA], eg. ஃஜிரொக்ஸ் ziroks Xerox.

ISO 15919 transcription j

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B9E TAMIL LETTER NYA

Tamil mellinam consonant

ɲ

ISO 15919 transcription ñ

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B9F TAMIL LETTER TTA

Tamil vallinam consonant

ʈ typically when word-initial and in a doubled consonant.

ɖ ɽ in other places.

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BA3 TAMIL LETTER NNA

Tamil mellinam consonant

ɳ

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BA4 TAMIL LETTER TA

Description in the Unicode standard:

• also denotes the measure tuuni

Tamil vallinam consonant

typically when word-initial and in a doubled consonant.

ð in other places.

ISO 15919 transcription t

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BA8 TAMIL LETTER NA

Tamil mellinam consonant

ISO 15919 transcription n

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BA9 TAMIL LETTER NNNA

Tamil mellinam consonant

n

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BAA TAMIL LETTER PA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= maa
• also denotes the fraction one twentieth

Tamil vallinam consonant

p typically when word-initial and in a doubled consonant.

b β in other places.

f when preceded by [U+0B83 TAMIL SIGN VISARGA], eg. ஃபீசு fiːsɯ (fees).

ISO 15919 transcription p

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BAE TAMIL LETTER MA

Tamil mellinam consonant

m

ISO 15919 transcription m

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BAF TAMIL LETTER YA

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

j

ISO 15919 transcription y

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB0 TAMIL LETTER RA

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

ɾ

ISO 15919 transcription r

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB1 TAMIL LETTER RRA

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

r t d

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB2 TAMIL LETTER LA

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

l

ISO 15919 transcription l

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB3 TAMIL LETTER LLA

Description in the Unicode standard:

• also denotes the measure kalam

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

ɭ

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB4 TAMIL LETTER LLLA

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

ɻ

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB5 TAMIL LETTER VA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= kaal
• also denotes the fraction one quarter

Tamil idaiyinam consonant

ʋ

ISO 15919 transcription v

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB6 TAMIL LETTER SHA

Tamil grantha consonant

ɕ ʃ

This character is not commonly used, except in the śrī ligature ஶ்ரீ. (Other ligatures with MA, YA, RA, and VA are found in archaic forms of Tamil only.)

ISO 15919 transcription ś

Refs: [1] Proposal to add Tamil grantha character SHA; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB7 TAMIL LETTER SSA

Tamil grantha consonant

ʂ

ISO 15919 transcription

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB8 TAMIL LETTER SA

Tamil grantha consonant

s

ISO 15919 transcription s

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BB9 TAMIL LETTER HA

Tamil grantha consonant

h

ISO 15919 transcription h

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

Vowels

Independent vowels

U+0B85 TAMIL LETTER A

Tamil independent vowel

ʌ

ISO 15919 transcription a

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B86 TAMIL LETTER AA

Tamil independent vowel

ɑː

ISO 15919 transcription ā

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B87 TAMIL LETTER I

Tamil independent vowel

i

ISO 15919 transcription i

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B88 TAMIL LETTER II

Tamil independent vowel

ISO 15919 transcription ī

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B89 TAMIL LETTER U

Tamil independent vowel

u ɯ

ISO 15919 transcription u

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B8A TAMIL LETTER UU

Tamil independent vowel

ISO 15919 transcription ū

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B8E TAMIL LETTER E

Tamil independent vowel

e

ISO 15919 transcription e

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B8F TAMIL LETTER EE

Tamil independent vowel

ISO 15919 transcription ē

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B90 TAMIL LETTER AI

Tamil independent vowel

ʌj

ISO 15919 transcription ai

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B92 TAMIL LETTER O

Tamil independent vowel

o

ISO 15919 transcription o

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B93 TAMIL LETTER OO

Tamil independent vowel

ISO 15919 transcription ō

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0B94 TAMIL LETTER AU

Description in the Unicode standard:

≡ 0B92 0BD7

Tamil independent vowel

ʌʋ

ISO 15919 transcription au

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

Dependent vowel signs

U+0BBE TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AA

Tamil vowel sign

ɑː

ISO 15919 transcription ā

This character can also be used in another way, but it is not recommended. It allows for [U+0BCA TAMIL VOWEL SIGN O] and [U+0BCB TAMIL VOWEL SIGN OO] to each be represented by two characters, [U+0BC6 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN E] or [U+0BC7 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN EE] , respectively, and this character. When used this way, both combining characters must appear after the base consonant(s), and this character must come second.3

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script; [3] The Unicode Standard v5.2 pp290-291

ி

U+0BBF TAMIL VOWEL SIGN I

Tamil vowel sign

i

ISO 15919 transcription i

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BC0 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN II

Tamil vowel sign

ISO 15919 transcription ī

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BC1 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN U

Tamil vowel sign

u ɯ

ISO 15919 transcription u

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BC2 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN UU

Tamil vowel sign

ISO 15919 transcription ū

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BC6 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN E

Description in the Unicode standard:

• stands to the left of the consonant

Tamil vowel sign

e

ISO 15919 transcription e

This character can also be used, followed by [U+0BBE TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AA] to represent [U+0BCA TAMIL VOWEL SIGN O], or followed by [U+0BD7 TAMIL AU LENGTH MARK] to represent [U+0BCC TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AU], but neither approach is recommended. You should just use the single character. When used this way, both combining characters must appear after the base consonant(s), and this character must come first.3

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script; [3] The Unicode Standard v5.2 pp290-291

U+0BC7 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN EE

Description in the Unicode standard:

• stands to the left of the consonant

Tamil vowel sign

ISO 15919 transcription ē

This character can also be used, followed by [U+0BBE TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AA] to represent [U+0BCB TAMIL VOWEL SIGN OO], but this is not recommended. You should just use the single character. When used this way, both combining characters must appear after the base consonant(s), and this character must come first.3

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script; [3] The Unicode Standard v5.2 pp290-291

U+0BC8 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AI

Description in the Unicode standard:

• stands to the left of the consonant

Tamil vowel sign

ʌj

In traditional Tamil orthography the shape of this character changes to picture in conjunction with the following characters: ண ன ல ள. However, this shape is not used in modern Tamil writing.

ISO 15919 transcription ai

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script; [3] The Unicode Standard v5.2 pp293-294

U+0BCA TAMIL VOWEL SIGN O

Description in the Unicode standard:

≡ 0BC6 0BBE

Tamil vowel sign

o

ISO 15919 transcription o

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BCB TAMIL VOWEL SIGN OO

Description in the Unicode standard:

≡ 0BC7 0BBE

Tamil vowel sign

ISO 15919 transcription ō

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BCC TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AU

Description in the Unicode standard:

≡ 0BC6 0BD7

Tamil vowel sign

ʌʋ

ISO 15919 transcription au

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p426; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

Signs & symbols

Virama

U+0BCD TAMIL SIGN VIRAMA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= pulli

Tamil mark, puḷḷi

Used as a virama to indicate a lack of vowel sound after a consonant, and doubled consonants. Unlike most Indian scripts, which tend to use ligatures for consonant clusters, modern Tamil normally shows a visible puḷḷi over characters without following vowel sounds, eg. பத்து லட்சம் pattu laṭcam ten lakhs.

Two exceptions include க்ஷ kʃa and sometimes ஶ்ரீ ʃrī, although even those are often written with a visible pulli these days. Note that these ligatures are still written in Unicode using an invisible pulli character between the consonants.

The Unicode Standard specifies that you can force the pulli to appear over the initial letters in a conjunct that would otherwise be a ligature by using U+200C ZERO WIDTH NON JOINER immediately after the pulli.

Refs: [1] [Daniels] pp426-429; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script; [3] The Unicode Standard v5.2 p290

Various signs

U+0B82 TAMIL SIGN ANUSVARA

Description in the Unicode standard:

• not used in Tamil

U+0B83 TAMIL SIGN VISARGA

Description in the Unicode standard:

= aytham
• just as for the Tamil pulli, the glyph for aytham may use either dots or rings

Tamil symbol, āytam ஆய்தம்

Returned to use in the modern script to form non-native fricatives from plosives.

f in conjunction with a following [U+0BAA TAMIL LETTER PA], eg. ஃபீசு fiːsɯ (fees)

z in conjunction with a following [U+0B9C TAMIL LETTER JA], eg. ஃஜிரொக்ஸ் ziroks (Xerox).

ISO 15919 transcription a

Refs: [1] [Daniels] p428; [2] Wikipedia: Tamil Script

U+0BD0 TAMIL OM

Tamil symbol, ōm̐

ōm

OM is a religious concept found in all three major religions born in India viz. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Tamil OM sign is widely used in Hindu religious texts, temple publications, and as neon lamps of sign boards in shops etc.

This sign helps with transliteration between Tamil and other indic scripts such as Devanagari, Gurmukhi and Gujarati, which also have an om character.

Refs: [1] Proposal to add TAMIL OM

U+0BD7 TAMIL AU LENGTH MARK

Tamil mark

Use of this character is not recommended. It allows for [U+0BCC TAMIL VOWEL SIGN AU] to be represented by two characters, [U+0BC6 TAMIL VOWEL SIGN E] and this character. When used this way, both combining characters must appear after the base consonant(s), and this character must come second.

Refs: [1] The Unicode Standard v5.2 pp290-291

Tamil symbols

U+0BF3 TAMIL DAY SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= naal, naali/padi
• denotes a measure of grain that equals 2 uri or 4 ulakku
= pillaiyaar suli
• denotes auspiciousness

Tamil symbol, nāl

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BF4 TAMIL MONTH SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= maatham

Tamil symbol, mātam (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BF5 TAMIL YEAR SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= varudam

Tamil symbol, varudam (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BF6 TAMIL DEBIT SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= patru

Tamil symbol, patru (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BF7 TAMIL CREDIT SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= eduppu
• denotes incoming cash which is set aside for unknown expenses
• sometimes used as the credit sign; the traditional credit sign is distinct

Tamil symbol, varavu (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BF8 TAMIL AS ABOVE SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= merpadi

Tamil symbol, merpadi (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

U+0BFA TAMIL NUMBER SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= enn, niluvai
• denotes balance
• sometimes used as the number sign; the traditional number sign is distinct

Tamil symbol, enn (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

Numbers

Digits

U+0BE6 TAMIL DIGIT ZERO

Tamil digit, pūkkiyam பூக்கியம்

A modern innovation. This character was added as of Unicode 4.1 for implementations which need to support it.

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BE7 TAMIL DIGIT ONE

Tamil digit, oṉṟu ஒன்று

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BE8 TAMIL DIGIT TWO

Tamil digit, iraṇtu இரண்து

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BE9 TAMIL DIGIT THREE

Tamil digit, mūṉṟu மூன்று

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BEA TAMIL DIGIT FOUR

Tamil digit, naraṉku நரன்கு

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BEB TAMIL DIGIT FIVE

Tamil digit, aintu ஐந்து

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BEC TAMIL DIGIT SIX

Tamil digit, āṟu ஆறு

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BED TAMIL DIGIT SEVEN

Tamil digit, ēḻu ஏழு

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BEE TAMIL DIGIT EIGHT

Tamil digit, eṭṭu எட்டு

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BEF TAMIL DIGIT NINE

Tamil digit, oṉpatu ஒன்பது

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

Tamil numerics

U+0BF0 TAMIL NUMBER TEN

Tamil digit, pattu பத்து

The following illustrates how this numbering system is used:
10 is
11 is ௰௧
20 is ௨௰
21 is ௨௰௧
120 is ௱௨௰
1,200 is ௲௨௱
1,221 is ௲௨௱௨௰௧
etc.

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BF1 TAMIL NUMBER ONE HUNDRED

Tamil digit, nūṟu நூறு

The following illustrates how this numbering system is used:
10 is
11 is ௰௧
20 is ௨௰
21 is ௨௰௧
120 is ௱௨௰
1,200 is ௲௨௱
1,221 is ௲௨௱௨௰௧
etc.

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

U+0BF2 TAMIL NUMBER ONE THOUSAND

Tamil digit, en எந்

The following illustrates how this numbering system is used:
10 is
11 is ௰௧
20 is ௨௰
21 is ௨௰௧
120 is ௱௨௰
1,200 is ௲௨௱
1,221 is ௲௨௱௨௰௧
etc.

Modern Tamil normally uses Western digits.

Refs: [1] Omniglot: Tamil; [2] CSS3 Module, Lists; [3] Unicode Technical Note #21: Tamil Numbers

Currency symbol

U+0BF9 TAMIL RUPEE SIGN

Description in the Unicode standard:

= rupai

Tamil symbol, rupai (approximately)

Refs: [1] Proposal to add eight Tamil symbols

Expanded references

  1. [Daniels] Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, The World's Writing Systems, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507993-0
First published 3 Feb 2014. This version 2017-07-20 9:07 GMT.  •  Copyright r12a@w3.org. Licence CC-By.