Thread started by bis_mala on 25th May 2006 08:31 PM

The purpose of this thread is to illustrate to those interested how words developed in Tamil.

We shall consider how the word "kaththi" (knife) developed. But before that, there are some preliminary matters.

Humans used stone as cutting instrument in the very olden days, before the advent of the iron age when humans made iron tools.

Let's look at the position in the Indo-European family of languages as it will broaden our research and knowledge.

Latin: secare (to cut) :: saxum (a stone).

seax (OE) - a knife.

The above words show that early man used stones as cutting instrument.
In Tamil, we have the word "kaththi".

In the very old days, long long before Tolkappiyam was ever written, this word "kaththi" should have been in the form: "kalthi" . kal means stone. thi is the suffix. It later dropped its "l" and became kaththi.

If you use the "puNarchi" rules of grammar, it should be kal+thi = kaRRi. Such rule had not yet been formulated as yet when the word kaththi was formed or it was not followed, as it occurred in other words too. We shall reserve such examples for the time being.

Thus you have kal > kaththi, a knife, the root being "kal".

Word formation in Tamil appears to be similar to the Indo-European languages.


update on 2.10.2010:

Anthropologists have postulated, in a classic work on European ethnology, that the modern day Basque people of the Pyrenees Mountains (northern Spain/southern France) speak a language inherited directly from Cro-Magnon Man (Ripley, 1899).The Basque (Euskara) word for knife means literally "stone that cuts,"


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