Tirunelveli Tamil

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Nellai Tamil, also known as Tirunelveli Tamil, is one of the dialects of Tamil which is spoken in the districts of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi as well as over the vast area of south Tamil Nadu which was once ruled by the Pandiya Kings. Nellai Tamil is also known as Thenpaandi Tamil. Thenpaandi Seemai refers to the part of a Pandya kingdom which includes the present day Tirunelveli and Tuticorin Districts.


The Tirunelveli Tamil Dialect (TTD) has on the whole 41 phonemes of which 31 are segmental and the remaining 10 are suprasegmental.[1] Nellai Tamil also preserves archaic kinship terms that other dialects have long discarded. However, the most unique feature of the Tamil spoken in the Tirunelveli region is that the medial "c" is pronounced as a voiceless palatal affricate as in Old Tamil (like the Sanskrit j) and has not undergone the change to the dental "s" as in most other dialects.[2]

Regions of Nellai Tamil[edit]

Words of Nellai Tamil[edit]

  • Annaachi = address a known or unknown elder person
  • Yemmaa = address a known or unknown female
  • eppadi irukkeeva = How are you
  • Chuvamthaana = are you doing well
  • chuvamaa irukeyalaa = Are you doing well, Are you in good health
  • Elei= Dai, Hi dude
  • ava = she
  • thooraama poreeya = are you going somewhere
  • avan cholludhamle = He says
  • naan cholludhamle dai = I am saying
  • enga = where
  • ingana = Here
  • angana = there
  • engala pona avan = where did he go
  • andhaanikku = so
  • Kalavaani = Thief
  • aviva = Him (respectful form - III-person Singular), They (also used for III-person plural)
  • seththa neeram = After some time
  • podi ulli - sambar vengayam (onion)
  • pallari- periya vengayam (onion)

Movies featuring Nellai Tamil[edit]

Nellai Tamil has been used in a number of Tamil movies. Some of them are Seevalaperi Pandi Dum Dum Dum, Saamy, Ayya, Kovil, Thamiraparani, Roja, Thirunelveli, Kushi, Sillunu Oru Kadhal, Raman Thediya Seethai, Pidichirukku, Kannum kannum, Dasavatharam, Seval, Thoothukudi, Veeramum Eeramum, Gentleman, Anniyan, Saadhu, Pudhu Nellu Pudhu Naatthu, Punnagai Mannan, Veelai Kedaiciruchu, Tanneer Tanneer, Kadal. osthi, singham, singham II


  1. ^ Kamatchinathan, p. 1
  2. ^ Pillai, S. Anavartavinayakam (1974). "The Sanskrit Element in Dravidian Languages". In Mark Collines. Dravidian Studies. University of Madras. pp. 117–118.