Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Japanese Connection!

On my recent trip to Chennai and Coimbatore, i was amazed to find a lot of Japanese language and cultural schools. In Tokyo too, i could find a fair share of Japanese speaking tamilians(folks from Tamilnadu).

Probably, since the IT industry is big in Japan(2nd biggest IT market for India), cities like Chennai being host to a lot of IT companies , the demand-supply effect should have come into picture. Obviously right? But wait a minute, Bangalore(ok,bengalooru) is a bigger IT market, so going by that line of thought, there should be a lot more Japanese language schools as well.

However that does not seem to be the case. Just spending couple of days in Chennai, i stumbled upon lot more japanese language schools than what i have seen in Bangalore in the last 6 months. Also a quick search on this site reveals that there are more japanese language teachers in Chennai than Bangalore.


Why are the tamil people folk more attracted to the japanese language? Are they genetically attracted to the language?

Thats what it seems, if you go by Susumu Ohno-san's "THE GENEOLOGY OF THE JAPANESE LANGUGAGE'Ohno san's extensive research on this area has established the connection between Nihongo and Tamil.

But why Tamil? Why not other Dravidan languages? say Telugu or Kannada
Ohno-san reasons out like this-
First, it is a language spoken by a large group of over 48 million. Second, it is a very old language; 2,500 Cañkam verses, written in ancient Tam ii between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., are preserved. Third, a detailed grammar of ancient Tamil survives, the Tolkãppiyam, written around the third century B.C. (Among other Dravidian languages, literature in the Kannada language can be traced back only as far as 1100 A.D., and that of Telugu, to 1200 A.D.,)

Makes sense. He also lists some words which have same meanings and similiar sounds.

Table 1. Word Correspondence (Jap. F: Tam. p., pp)

J. Far-u (to swell, expand)
T. Par-u (to swell {DEDR 3972])

J. Far-uka (to be far off)
T. par-a (to be far, wide [DEDR 3949])

J. Fat-u (to end, perish, die)
T. pat-u (to perish, die {DEDR 3852])

J. Fir-o (wide, great)
T. per-u (great, large [DEDR 4411])

J. Fo:k-u (to eulogize, praise)
T. puk-aJ (eulogy [DEDR 4235])

J. Fot-o (time)
T. pot-u (time [DEDR 4559])

J. Far-u (to become bulky)
T. par-u (to be bulky [DEDR 3972])

J. Far-a (field of sky)
T. par-am (heaven {T.L.2499])

J. Fat-u (first, new of the season)
T. pat-u (to appear for the first time (DEDR 3852])

J. Fuk-asu (to smoke, steam)
T. pok-ai (to smoke, vapor [DEDR 4240])

J. För-ö (cloth cover)
T. por-vai (covering [DEDR 4590])

J. Fut-a (cover, lid)
T. put-ai (to bury, hide, cover [DEDR 4509])

J. Fur-c (village)
T. pul-am (village, place [DEDR 4303])

J. Fun-c (ship)
T. puri-ai (raft, boat [DEDR 4321])

J. FOr-ö (tumor, abscess)
T. purr-u (scrofulous, scurby one [DEDR 4336]

J. taF-uru (to die)
T. tap-u (to perish, die (DEDR 3068])

J. öF-ö (big, to flourish)
T. upp-u (to become big, bloat [DEDR 666])

J. aF-u (to meet, be fit)
T. opp-u (to agree, be fit [DEDR 924])

J. köF-u (to beg)
T. kupp-u (to join hand as in worship [DEDR 1894])

J. tuF-a (spittle)
T. tupp-al (saliva [DEDR 3323])

J. suF-u (to suck)
T. cüpp-u (to suck, sip [DEDR 2621])

I am not sure of the Japanese words, but most of the tamil words in the list seem to be colloqial, but yeah the connection cannot be dismissed.

No wonder, tamil actor "superstar" Rajanikanth is pretty well known among Japanese film aficionados!