E. Annamalai

Restoring knowledge by integration and refutation: Sivagnana Munivar’s conceptualization of tradition

A grammarian creates knowledge of the structure of a language; to be precise, makes explicit the innate knowledge that underlies the language and in the mind of the speaker of that language. He creates a metalanguage including the conceptual framework and terms for making this explicitness possible and precise. He needs the authority of the community to make this knowledge acceptable as authentic. Adherents of this knowledge make a school and this school preserves, reinterprets, extends this knowledge. The terms authority, community and authenticity mentioned above are problematic and they will be examined in this paper in the context of their understanding in Tamil tradition. The examination is done based on Sivagnana Munivar’s understanding of these terms.

கொங்குதேர் வாழ்க்கை: Cross Pollination of Ideas and Imagination

‘No man is an island’ is a wise saying. So is language, except the ones in impenetrable jungle or in an inaccessible island with its community shooting poisoned arrows at outsiders including missionaries and tradesmen. Tamil never lived in such a place! From the beginnings of its recorded history Tamil speakers interacted with speakers of Prakrit (Julie 2018) and Sanskrit ( ), for which inscriptions and literature bear evidence. But like most things about language, language ideology sifts and recasts any evidence about language.

Theory of உவமை in Tolkappiyam-2

Source of உவமை Difference between உவமை and பொருள் There are so many things to be employed as உவமை by the virtue of sharing some common feature with பொருள். But not anything that has ஒப்புமை could be உவமை. Similarity is a necessary condition to make உவமை, but not a sufficient one. There are other conditions to be met whose awareness will help the readers or listeners of poetry to know the full significance of உவமை. Source is used in two senses, viz., the materials available for choice and the basis of the motivation for choice. The latter is called நிலக்களன் ‘ground, vantage point’ to make உவமை in Tolkappiyam (S 4). The former does not have a name (S 1) and it is termed in English here as ‘site of meaning’ for உவமை.

Theory of உவமை in Tolkappiyam-1

Function of உவமை Comparison of similarity உவமை (upama in Sanskrit, simile in English) is a literary concept and technique found in literary theories found in every language that has literate poetry. The concept is based on the notion of similarity (ஒப்பு, ஒப்புமை) between two things. The verb from which these nouns are derived (ஒப்பிடு) means ‘compare’. Similarity between things is never total; it is always partial (ஒருபுடை ஒப்புமை). பேராசிரியர் (S 1) explains this with the example tiger-like warrior, which excludes from similarity having a tail, four legs etc. Similar features for comparison are selected not just by natural similarity; the cultural convention about the significance of a feature or some features of things plays a crucial role as well. Comparison of the beauty of a woman with the beauty of the bird parrot is specific to Tamil (may be, Indian) culture, but is unacceptable in European culture. So, acceptable and unacceptable உவமை is culture specific and consequently, language specific. This, however, does not rule out உவமைs that are universally acceptable.

The Metrical Language of Tamil part 3 Kindred Types பாவினம்

1 New verse forms and their theorization Each of the four types of பா (called பாவகை) has a kindred பா called பாவினம் (இனம் derived from ஈன் has the sense ‘of the same birth or origin). பாவினம் is born out of பா, it has family resemblance to the corresponding பா. Each பாவினம் has family resemblance with பா in the sense that it shares the same metrical structure –the origin, but shows features exploding the structure. The sharing may be minimal; nevertheless the umbilical cord is not severed. பாவினம் is different from the sub-types of the பா (called பாவிரி ‘பா extension’), which are based on the variability of the metrical structure of the major types but also allows the presence of the metrical features of other பாs. For example, குறள் வெண்பா is that வெண்பா that has two metrical lines and it is an example of variability; கலிவெண்பா or வெண்கலிப்பா is that கலிப்பா that has the metrical features of வெண்பா (or வெண்பா that has a கலி feature, கலித்தளை to be specific, and it is an example of boundary crossing (மயக்கம்). இனம், on the other hand, expands the features of the பா and reworks them.

The Metrical Language of Tamil Literature part 2. Types of Poems பாவகை

1. Defining Features பா is a unit or limb of செய்யுள் in தொல்காப்பியம் like other physical units and it is one of the seven compositions that come under the rubric of செய்யுள். The unit தொடை of பா (at the least, மோனை and எதுகை) are common to other six members of செய்யுள் (செய்யுளியல் 75), such as உரை ‘prose compositions (as in உரையிடையிட்ட பாட்டுடைச் செய்யுள்)’, நூல் ‘treatise of a disciplined knowledge’ (in versified form such as grammar; cf. நூற்பா ‘sutra’), வாய்மொழி ‘mantra, prayer’, பிசி ‘riddle’, முதுமொழி ‘proverb, aphorism’, அங்கதம் ‘indirect and satirical sayings’; the units அசை, சீர் and அடி are shared only by நூல். There are units such as தளை and ஓசை that are specific only to பா. பா, unlike other kinds of செய்யுள், is constituted by all the units of செய்யுள்.

The Metrical Language of Tamil Literature

E. Annamalai. 2019. “The Metrical Language of Tamil Literature.” University of Chicago. Abstract
The metrical language Language sequences sounds into words and the words into hierarchical syntactic units. There is a potential pause between words. The sound sequence is segmented in another way also in speech, which co-occurs with the segments of sounds in words and with the sequence of words in sentences. It is called supra-segmental or prosodic features of sounds and its kinds include tone, stress, pitch and intonation. Tone and stress operate on words and intonation operates on larger units. Prosodic sound features are as important for human communication (and in grammar such as the relation between word classes and sentence types) as the segmental features are. They are the only features in animal communicative sounds such as bird songs, which do not divide the message into words and phonemes. The above mentioned prosodic features are characteristic of natural languages. Some Tamil examples where some prosodic difference makes semantic difference are பலகை ‘plank, board’, பல கை ‘many hands’; பத்துப்பாட்டு ‘name of a Sangam Anthology’, பத்துப் பாட்டு ‘ten songs’; சொல்லிக்கொடு ‘teach’, சொல்லிக் கொடு ‘tell and give’; நானா சொன்னேன் ‘did I say (this)’, நானா சொன்னேன் (in speech) ‘I said (it) myself’.

Theory of உவமை in Tolkappiyam-3

Emotion as உவமப்பொருள் Relation with மெய்ப்பாடு Disparity between பொருள் and உவமை when உவமை is markedly upsized or downsized serves a function. It is a cue to look for the expression of emotion through உவமை. As உவமை conveys meaning, it also conveys emotion (மெய்ப்பாடு) when it is marked. The relation of மெய்ப்பாடு, which is a central element in the performance of drama (நாடக வழக்கு), to உவமை, the device to create meaning in poetry, is the reason, according to commentators (இளம்பூரணர் S 1), to place the chapter on the latter after the chapter on the former. Conveying emotion is a derived function of உவமை, whose primary function is conveying meaning. This is suggested by the phrase மெய்ப்பாடு எட்டன் வழி மருங்கு அறியத் தோன்றும் ‘will appear to make one realize the derivative sense, which is one of the eight மெய்ப்பாடுs’ (S 19). The subjects of ‘will appear’ are the upsizing (பெருமை) and downsizing (சிறுமை) of உவமை in the sutra and they are the instigators of the emotions, which appear derivatively. பேராசிரியர் understands வழிமருங்கு as ‘sometimes’ (that modifies the verb தோன்றும்; எட்டன் is the object of அறிய) and says that upsizing and downsizing of உவமை are not needed all the times to convey emotion through உவமை (அவை (i.e. பெருமையும் சிறுமையும்) பற்றாது மெய்ப்பாடு எட்டும்பற்றி வாளாதே (‘simply’) உவமம் வருதல் செவ்விது). He means that மெய்ப்பாடு does not need to உவமை be marked and its absence is the preferred way. In other words, பெருமை and சிறுமை are optional for உவமை to convey emotion. It does not necessarily deny the fact that expressing emotion by உவமை is not required in every instance.

Literary Theory ofஅகம் genre of poetry -3

Revisiting கைக்கிளை and பெருந்திணை

As seen above, கைக்கிளை and பெருந்திணை do not have முதல் பொருள் and கருப்பொருள் specific to them. The உரிப்பொருள் of them is a விகாரம் of it, and most commonly it is a விகாரம் of புணர்ச்சி, the உரிப்பொருள் of குறிஞ்சி. There is no உள்ளுறை உவமம் to reinforce the விகாரம்.  In the absence of முதல், கரு and a prototypical உரி, a question arises as to how a poem is identified as a கைக்கிளை or a பெருந்திணை poem. The words spoken, or not spoken, tell suggestively (குறிப்பு) a கைக்கிளை poem (S 53) and a பெருந்திணை (S 54).

Literary Theory ofஅகம் genre of poetry -2

People as கருப்பொருள் The list of கருப்பொருள் in Sutra 20 does not include humans (மக்கள்), which is done in Sutras 22-24. Though the commentators bring in humans under கருப்பொருள் from the open ended wording (அவ்வகை பிறவும்) in Sutra 21, there is a valid reason for not including humans in that Sutra. Moreover, ‘others’ (பிற) in that Sutra is meant to bring in things that are subsumed under superordinate category names listed in that Sutra and humans are not subordinate to any of them.