If you cannot read Tamil, you probably cannot figure out what the above words mean. Even if you are a Tamil reader, you probably have never used the above words. Unless you are from the northern province area of Sri Lanka (Jaffna a.k.a. யாழ்ப்பாணம்), or you are a few hundred years old.
There is ‘This’ and there is ‘That’. Is there any word to describe something that’s present in between this and that? (Other than ‘in-between’). Not that I am aware of. But recently, I came to know about the word ‘udhu’ (உது) from a friend who was trying to make a philosophical point of view that life is not binary, there is always something between 0 and 1, just like the word ‘udhu’.
I did not formally study Tamil during my school days and am no expert in the language’s vocabulary. I have tried my best to summarize my observations.
What is a ‘Suttezhutthu’ (சுட்டெழுத்து)?
Suttezhuthu is a letter/alphabet that points to a certain thing in space. In Tamil vocabulary, those alphabets are A (‘அ’), E(‘இ’) and U (‘உ’). A (‘அ’) is used to denote something that’s far from a person. E(‘இ’) is used to denote something that’s closer spatially to a person. And U (‘உ’) is used to represent everything in between.
U (‘உ’) is not used as a suttezhutthu anymore, especially in the vocabulary used in Tamil Nadu, India. But it was very much in use many years back and it’s currently in use around some parts of Jaffna area.
Usage of U (‘உ’)
U (‘உ’) is mostly used to denote something that’s in between a location far away and a location near to the person. It’s also used to denote something above, or behind a person.
Some common words:
உம்பர் — Umbar means above.
உப்பக்கம் — Uppakkam means behind one’s back.
உதுக்காண் — Udhukaan means to look a bit farther.
I have been speaking this language all my life, and I was quite surprised to know about the usage of U (‘உ’)-based Suttezhuthu. If you find any interesting usage of Tamil words like this, do share it in the comments. Would love to read more and explore the language I love.
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