Classification of Tamil Aytam [Was: Script Names]

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 12:00:10 EDT

Mark Davis wrote on the Unicode list:
> Why do you think that U+0B83 should be an L*?
> Antoine Leca wrote:
> > - this also remains me of the status of Tamil aytam U+0B83 "TAMIL SIGN
> > VISARGA", which is tagged "Mc", while it appears it may be a real letter
> > instead (but it cannot begin a word)

["Mc" means "combining mark", that is the classification of the visargas.]

Well, I defer to the Tamil experts (I hope there are some of them since that
Tamil Nadu have decided to participate to the Unicode consortium).

Anyway, here is my analysis:

Based on several sources (among these, Dr. Stone's pages at
while the references can be reached from
I understand that unification (in ISCII) of visarga with the Tamil symbol
named ‚ytam is not completely true, and should be taken with care.

Then, from some (written) conversations with Tamil speaking persons,
I got the impression that ‚ytam is viewed much like another letter,
and quite not as a modifier like the visarga is. For example, visarga
is never shown alone, but always follows a vowel, usually independent a.
OTOH, aaytam was spelled independently by Tamil speakers when I asked
them about the collating order.

But as I said before, this is much more personnal impression rather than
a definitive option, and I am sure Tamil people should be more trusted
than I am on this subject. For example, I have no idea of the way
Sanskrit visargas are written when the Grantha script is used (assuming
that the Grantha script should re-use the Tamil codepoints, which is
another debate).


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