South Indian man, when he was still dumb, arrived at the highly abstract concept of a limit marked by a straight line by a mysterious mental process unassisted by language, whereas modern man with his highly developed intelligence cannot engage himself in abstract thought without the help of words, that the primitive Tamil then invented the root var to express this concept, and later, formed the above words by ringing changes on the root. Language formation and linguistic growth and change are semiconscious or rather unconscious mental processes like the song of the lark or the gambol of the kid. It was when a people first came in intimate contact with a language other than their own and compared the two and noticed differences in the structure of words, of phrases and of sentences between the two languages, that they began to study their own language and the science of grammar was born. After such a contact with a foreign language, languages enter on a conscious stage of growth. Thus the words of a language belong to two stages of the growth of that language. (1) An early unconscious stage of word-invention, during the period when the language has not yet come into contact with a foreign language. Nouns belonging to this stage are called in Tamil grammar iḍukuṛippeyar, symbol-names, names given to things as a mere mark, a symbol, for some reason not known. These words are the oldest words of any language. (2) A later conscious stage of word-making. Words belonging to this stage are compounds consciously invented by combining iḍukuṛi words of one's language into new combinations; thus, when the Tamils wanted a word for 'brick', which was used as a material for house-building only in a very late stage of South Indian history, that after contact with Sanskrit, they invented two compound words, (a) śuḍumaṇ, burnt clay. (b) śeṅgal, red stone. Of these, the first word did not appeal to the Tamil people and died an early death; the second has stuck on to the language. Similarly in our own days, we have invented compounds like iruppuppādai, the railroad, minsāram, electricity, etc. Such names are named by Tamil grammarians as kāraṇappeyar, casual names, because the reason why the names were given to the objects is evident. These two classes of names, iḍrikuṛippeyar and kāraṇappeyar are called in Sanskrit Rūḍhi and Yoga, original and derived. Or the speakers of a language when they borrow a thing from a foreign people, may borrow also its foreign name and may partially or totally remould it in accordance with the phonetic framework of the mother-tongue. Thus the Tamils of an earlier epoch borrowed the Sanskrit word iṣhṭikā, brick, and turned into iṣhṭigai, or iṭṭigai. Often they absorbed the foreign word as it was, e.g., āṇavamalam, śaṣhṭi, etc. The former are called by Sanskritists, tadbhava, and the latter tatsama. We, too, nowadays, get both tadbhava and tatsama words from English. Thus we speak of tē and also tea, of maistri and master, etc.
- Some Tamil grammarians make a further distinction between kāraṇappeyar and kāraṇa iḍukuṛippeyar; but this distinction does not affect the argument developed here and so need not be noticed. Others would regard verbs turned into names as kāraṇappeyar, e.g. kal, stone, from verb kal, to dig, etc., but this refinement, too, will not affect our argument, for the root is an iḍukuṟi.