Notes on Tamil names

Until the establishment of Unicode it was impossible to find reliable lists of Indian names. Not just because transcribed names only could be published but mostly (in a sense) due to the wide variations in romanisation. For example   "Cottaikkalaa" becomes "cottaikkaLA" (Source: Cologne Dict.), becomes "cottaikkalā " (in Uni. Madras Tamil LexiconPandanus ), and  becomes "Sottaikala" (FRLHT & others). These various transcriptions correspond to standards. Unfortunately there are still computer programs that cannot process easily many of the subtle variations. This explains why the kind of transcriptions we tend to display on the MMPND appear unusual. For example we favour aa over A and aa over ā. Our "inadequate" transcriptions run through any program based on ASCII.
We originally made a pathetic attempt at publishing the scripts in a picturial form (see old Tamil index) but it was a difficult and time consuming process.  Although this worked well with languages such as Chinese, reliable sources of material in the 12 basic Indian languages were seriously lacking, so we felt the efforts were not justified. From the mid 2000 a number of reliable online references began to publish names in their original scripts, mostly Tamil and Sanskrit so far. Therefore it is now possible to sort many names if not all. Two problems remain however :
1. The great abundance of names in any given language.
2. The confusion over botanical names. Indian scholars having a tendancy to refer to older botanical names rather than the preferred modern taxons.
For example the Indian plum "Flacourtia jangomas " is almost always referred to as "Flacourtia cataphracta".
This can lead to mismatches when the botanical synonymy is ignored or misunderstood.
 Flacourtia cataphracta Roxb. ex Willd. is Flacourtia jangomas (Lour.) Raeusch. whilst
Flacourtia cataphracta sensu Blume  is  Flacourtia rukam Zoll. & Moritzi

The most reliable and useful as well as complementary  references we have found so far (2006) are :
(All examples of outpout are only partial. They simply illustrate the differences)

Anbumani S.
(Dr.), 2006, Online Tamil Lexicon (Dictionary) - Unicode Interface. Ver. 1.1 / Aug. 4, 2006 / Dr. S. Anbumani  (Based on Cologne Online Tamil Lexicon). < >.

Inputs :  English or Tamil script.                                                                  
Example of output : 



* 1. galangal, shrub, Alpinia ; 2. big galangal -> pErarattai

These outputs correspond to those at  Malten Thomas below

FRLHT, 2002 - 2005,   Encyclopedia on Indian Medicinal Plants - designed to provide access to FRLHT’s multi-disciplinary database through structured queries. Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT). < >. English, Romanised Arabic, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan, and Urdu. FRLHT ****
Associated Medicinal Plant Conservation Parks Database. Indexes in romanised Hindi, Kannada, Latin, Malayalam, Sanskrit & Tamil. < >.

GTN, 2003 - 2004, Government of Tamil Nadu, Department of Economics and Statistics,
Season and Crop Report of Tamil Nadu 2003-04. GLOSSARY OF BOTANICAL, ENGLISH AND TAMIL NAMES OF CROPS. < >. 

                                                                                                                    Example of output :
8. Panicum Miliaceum Common Millet Panivaraguor Kadaikanni

IndFlora, 2001-2004, (a work in progress).  NCL Center for Biodiversity Informatics (Copyright NCL, India). This site is developed and maintained by Information Division of the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, India.
< >.                                          

Example of output :

 1.     Perarattai      (Tamil)

Alpinia galanga

 2.     Kulinjan      (Hindi)

Alpinia galanga

 3.     Kulinjan      (Marathi)

Alpinia galanga

 4.     Kulinjan      (Sanskrit)

Alpinia galanga

Katzer Gernot, 2006, Indic Scripts Index for Herbs and Spices. Part of Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages. < >. The most comprehensively compiled dictionary of Indian names. Pity that it is limited to only 117 spices, but a fantastic effort.

Example of output :
জায্ফল जाय्फल jāyphal (bn)
jāyphaḷ (mr)
জায়ফল जाय़फल jāȳaphal (bn)
জালুক जालुक jāluk (as)

Malten Thomas, Sanskrit, Tamil and Pahlavi Dictionaries. First version of this page: Kira Stöwe, 11.Feb.2003.  Data by Thomas Malten, 1997. (Based on Cologne Online Tamil Lexicon). < >.

                                                                                                                       Example of output :



* 1. galangal, shrub, Alpinia ; 2. big galangal -> pErarattai


Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Version: 0.1 beta, Last updated: Thu 03/27/2003 11:40 PM. Based on  the IITS - Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon & on  R.B. Mahoney's  HTML Version 0.1a, University of Cologne. Unicode HTML version by Prem Pahlajrai. Includes the  Cologne Online Tamil Lexicon.
Example of Sanskrit below from < >.                                        

Example of output :


○kāṇḍá n. the stem or cane of the Saccharum Officinale, the sugar-cane Suśr. R.

m. N. of two different species of sugar-cane, Saccharum Munja Roxb. and Saccharum Spontaneum L.

S. I. S.
1998-2005 , Pandanus Database of Plants. Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil and Latin Plant names.  Seminar of Indian Studies (S. I. S.), Institute of South & Central Asia, Faculty of Arts, Charles University. Prague - Czech Republic.  < >.  
Inputs :  Latin, English, Sanskrit or Tamil (script or romanised form - 3 encoding options).                                                                                                          

Example of output :

Plant Name Flacourtia cataphracta
 Language Latin
 Identified with (Skt) tāla, tāli
 Identified with (Pkt)
 Identified with (Tam) caralaṅkā
 Identified with (Lat)
 Dictionary Dymock: Flacourtia cataphracta, Bixineae (vol. I, p. 152)
Fig.- Many-spined Flacourtia (Eng.)
This is the Prāchināmalaka of Sanskrit writers ...............

of Madras
Tamil Lexicon. < >. Part of Digital Dictionaries of South Asia < >.

                                                                                                                     Example of output : 

அரத்தை (p. 0120) [ arattai ] n arattai . cf. rāsnā. 1. Galangal, shrub, Alpinia; செடிவகை. அரத்தை முக்கடு (தைலவ. தைல. 1). 2. Big galangal. See பேர ரத்தை. (L.)

இரசனா (p. 0306) [ iracaā ] n iracaā . < rāsnā. Lesser Ga langal, m. sh., Alpinia officinarum; அரத்தை வகை (மலை.)


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Date created: 29 / 08 / 2006
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