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, Tenkasi 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, Tenkasi 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 unusual 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 = அன்னாச்சி = address a known or unknown elder person
  • Yemmaa = address a known or unknown female
  • eppadi irukkeeya = How are you
  • Chuvamthaana = are you doing well?
  • chuvamaa irukeyalaa = Are you doing well, Are you in good health
  • yennala Panutha =What are you doing da
  • Elei, yala = Dai, Hi dude
  • Yeti = calling younger Girl or Sister
  • ava = she
  • thooraama poreeya = are you going far
  • avan cholludhamle = He says
  • naa cholludhamla =I am telling you
  • pailuva = boys
  • pottachi = girl
  • ponjadhi = wife
  • payabulla = fellow
  • enga = where
  • inganakula = Here
  • anganakula = there
  • nikki = waiting, standing
  • choli = work
  • engala pona avan = where did he go
  • andhaanikku = so
  • Kalavaani = Thief
  • aviya, iviya = Him (respectful form - III-person Singular), They (also used for III-person plural)
  • settha neeram = After some time
  • podi ulli = sambar vengayam (onion)
  • pallari = periya vengayam (onion)
  • Thoraval = Key (Chaavi)
  • Pydha = Tyre
  • payya po =go slowly (methuvaga)
  • Makka = used to address each other
  • anthaala = Like wise(Appadiye)
  • Kaangala = Not found(Kaanam)
  • thoora ponga = move aside (to elder Sister)
  • thoora pola = move aside (to younger brother or friends)
  • thoora poti = move aside (to younger Sister or friends)
  • thaai = younger sister(thangachi)
  • Osaka = above (at a higher place)
  • Methuva pola & paiyya pola = go slow
  • Mandaya paru = look at the head
  • Mooncha paru = look at the face
  • Sanga aruthruvemla = cut the neck
  • Akka= Elder Sister
  • Thankachi= Younger Sister
  • Kotti kara paya = mental
  • Vaariyal = sweeper
  • Annan = Elder Brother
  • Thambi = Younger brother
  • Maruthani= Henna
  • Nalla Irukkiyala? =Are you fine?
  • Kirukku Paya = Mental Boy
  • Machinan = Brother in Law (Wife's brothers)
  • Machini = Sister in Law (Wife's younger Sister) Gents can use this word
  • Maini= Sister in Law (Wife's elder Sister) in some cases maternal uncle's elder daughter
  • Machan = Brother in law (Sister's Husband) in some cases maternal uncle's elder son
  • Kolunthiya = Sister in Law (Husband's younger sister)Ladies can use this word
  • Athan = Elder Son of paternal aunty in some cases our elder sister's husband
  • Anni = Elder Daughter of Paternal aunty in some cases our elder brother's wife (Maini or Mathini)
  • Veettukkari/Pontatti/Manaivi = Wife
  • Veettukkarar/Purushan/Kanavan = Husband
  • Chithi = 1.Mother's own younger sister = Maternal younger aunty 2. Father's younger brother's wife
  • Chithappa=1.Father's own younger brother= paternal younger uncle 2. Mother's younger sister's husband
  • Periyamma = 1.Mother's own Elder sister = Maternal Elder aunty 2. Father's Elder brother's wife
  • Periyappa = 1.Father's own Elder brother= paternal Elder uncle 2. Mother's Elder sister's husband
  • Machi = Motta madi
  • Tirunoli/Nellai = Tirunelveli = The district in India in Tamil Nadu State which teach the civilisation/Courage/Culturec etc. to the world.

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 Bhairava (Vijay Film)

Kamal Haasan's 2015 movie Papanasam, a remake of the 2013 Malayalam film Drishyam, also features Nellai Tamil.


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