Translation:Tolkappiyam/Morphophonemic coalescence

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Tolkappiyam in English (4th century BCE)  by Tolkappiyar, translated from Tamil by Sengai Podhuvan and  Wikisource
Morphophonemic coalescence Phoneme, traditional positions
Section 1, Chapter 4
Verbatim translation
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The first numbers at the end of the each translation of the verse denote the serial number of the verse of the section and the succeeding second one denotes the serial number of the verse of the chapter of source-book.

Morphophonemic coalescence Phoneme, traditional positions

40 verses

First section, verses 104 to 143


Coalescences on ending phonemes[edit]

  • There are two parts in coalescence 1 vowels and 2 consonants based on thirty three phonemes, twenty two word-beginnings and * twenty four word-endings. 104/1
  • Of those the consonant-endings will have dots in written form. 105/2
  • Shortened [u] also has the same (a dot on the top of the letter). 106/3
  • Endings of vowel-consonants are considered as vowel-endings. 107/4

Coalescences, basic norms[edit]

  • Preceding-word and succeeding-word are the two parts of coalescences. Vowel after vowel, consonant after vowel, vowel after consonant and consonant after consonant are the structural-categories in compounding words. 108/5
  • Name after name, name after verb, verb after name and verb after verb are the functional-categories are also considered in word-compounds. 109/6
  • Transformation, appearance and disappearance are the three aspects happen in changing-coalescences. (Non-changing aspect also falls on in coalescence.) 110/7
  • Even if the proceeding and succeeding words appear with attribution are eligible to compound. 111/8
  • Usages of expression-corrupt or contracted-usages are also eligible to compound. 112/9
  • Case-blending and non-case-blending are the two categories in sense-coalescence. Phoneme and morpheme appear between two parts. 113/10


  • The six ‘ai’, ‘aal’, ‘ku, ‘in’, ‘athu’ and ‘kan’’ are case-morphemes (number 2 to 6). 114/11
  • Consonant doubles before case-morphemes with hard-consonant beginning. 115/12
  • The beginning phoneme of the sixth case morpheme ‘athu’ disappears in some cases. 116/13
  • Case-morphemes are added after nouns. 117/14
  • Names are two kinds: 1 human class and 2 non-human classes. 118/15
  • Empty-morphemes come between noun and case-morphemes. 119/16


  • There are some empty-morphemes to be pointed out: [in], [var’r’u], [aththu], [am], [on], [aan], [akku], [ikku], [an] etc. 120/17
  • Empty-morpheme [in] elides its initial phoneme, between the noun ‘aa’ (meaning cow) and case-morpheme. 121/18
  • After eliding, the remaining phoneme changes its form, to [r’] ([in] > [n] <> [r’]) between numerals and names of measurements. 122/19
  • The empty morpheme [var’r’u] elids its initial consonant [v] (and stands as [ar’r’u]) between demonstrative phonemes and case morphemes. 123/20
  • Eliding morpheme [n] changes its forms to [r’] before fourth case morpheme ([ku]). 124/21
  • Empty morpheme [aan] stand and change as above after a day’s name of a star with ending phoneme [ai]. 125/22
  • Empty morpheme [aththu] elides its initial phoneme. 126/23
  • Empty morpheme [ikku] elides its initial phoneme. 127/24
  • It happens after a month’s name ending with the phoneme [i]. 128/25
  • It happens even after a month’s name ending with the phoneme [ai] 129/26
  • Empty morpheme [am] changes its ending phoneme to [ng], [nj] and [n”] before the words having initial phoneme of [k], [s] and [th] respectively. 130/27
  • Empty morpheme [am] elides its ending phoneme before soft and medial consonants. 131/28
  • Before the case morpheme [in] the empty morpheme [in] disappears. 132/29
  • Before the case morpheme [odu], the empty morphemes either appear or disappear. 133/30
  • Morpheme [aththu] and [var’r’u] elide their initial portion leaving the ending vowel-consonant phoneme and coalescence with an additional phoneme corresponding to the succeeding word. 134/31
  • Empty morphemes to phonemes are: [kaaram], [karam] and [kaan]. 135/32
  • Among them, long-vowels do not accept [karam] and [kaan]. 136/33
  • Short-vowels accept all the three. 137/34
  • Vowels [ai] and [au] accept only the empty morpheme [kaan]. 138/35
  • Ending consonant in the preceding word do not stand in its form before the word having vowel initial. It blend into one letter (vowel-consonant) 139/36
  • When we separate both come into their original form. 140/37
  • Intrusive consonant appears between the vowel ending word and vowel initial word. 141/38
  • Word of coalescence separated according to the reader’s views. 142/39
  • They cannot be defined in structural coalescence as they are depending on thought. 143/40