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THE WORD AYAL

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THE WORD AYAL.
As the readers of the Siddhanta Deepika are aware, Ayal is one of those Tamil
words on the derivation of which I differ with Pandit Savariroyan. He is of the opinion that
ayal and the English alien are cognate words and that the European stem alia, to which the
latter is ultimately traced back by Professor Skeat, is but a metathetical modification of the
Tamil ayal (ayal). Moreover, he says that the terminal al means not, and that the idea of
not being close or kin is conveyed by aiyal. The Precedent which the learned Pundit quotes
for the novel explanation of al, is found in the Tamil Kadal, which he analyses into
kada=pass over and al=not, and which he thereby makes a conveyance for the signification of
the impassable.
Before considering whether the connotation of ayal or neighborhood necessarily
excludes closeness or kinship, or whether it is almost the same as relations dwelling in the
vicinity, let me show that the analysis of Kadal and the meaning assigned to its parts, are not
quite satisfactory. Granting that the stem Kada = to pass over or cross, is its radical element,
it is very probable that the ancient Tamilians meant by Kadal that which should be crossed
over as distinguished from land upon which men and animals do walk; compare the
expressions 0 and to cross the sea. If such be the primary sense of this
Tamil name for sea, one is bound to accept that the union of Kada with the verbal suffix al
brought forth Kadal by a process of coalescence similar to the Sanskrit Dirgha Sandhi, and
that the resultant long a was subsequently shortened.
Instead of accounting in this circuitous manner of the form of this appellative, it is
possible to bring it under the list of derivatives from the root Kad = to connect, to bind to tie,
to gird, to build, &c. Even the stem Kada is traceable to this root, as it necessarily implies
passing over a barrier or difficulty. Kadappu (LQ) a stile or way through a hedge serves
well to ward off cattle from the enclosure, while it gives entrance to mankind. In this
connection it strikes my mind forcibly that the Tamilian doorway was originally a Kadappy,
Kadavam (u) or Kadavu (Q), and that the two latter forms ceased to exist at some
remote period in the past when phonetic corruption gave rise to u or Q (a door or
custody). Kadavu (Q) however occurs in provincial usage to denote a path or way (Vide
Dr. Winslows Tamil-English Dictionary). Numerous as are the offshoots of the prolific Kad.
I reserve their consideration for a future occasion in order to avoid here a long digression
from the point in view.
The Derivation of Kadal from Kad makes one to understand that the service of the sea
as a barrier, or protection for the land or the facts of its begirting the land was clearly visible
to the person who first gave utterance to this name. If this be the true account, there is no
doubt that the al here is merely a verbal suffix (_ [l@) denoting being or
existence and identical with the al in * [* Cf. 0@ from Mal-to be abundant or full, occurring in
to be plentiful or to be cheap, a large quantity or heap of stone or sand.] @-to remain
THE WORD AYAL

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or to stay, from which comes 00- the night, or the time when persons remain at home.
Further examination brings this al into the closest proximity to the al implying negation.
Though this statement is apparently absurd, yet it is really true. It is a paradox in Tamil
philology, and the apparent absurdity will be entirely removed when [ Compare this word
with 0 wicked, of which 0 the radix means graceful as in Q and
u beauty, and is negative particle.] 0- a synonym of al not, is taken to parts.
It is made up of al and the negative suffix a (). If the first part also implies negation, then
the whole should convey an affirmative meaning, but it is not so. Therefore the root al
affirms something which is denied by a; hence its identity with the former root is a necessity.
The negative al is nothing but a dwindled form of 0. It is however the parent of
0 or 0 that which is not day or the time when the sun is absent, of 0@- to
dwindle into nothing, to diminish, &c., from which is derived 00- deficiency or want,
and of 00 pain or sorrow.
It is interesting to note here that not only 0, but also 0 which is
traceable to the root of 0 residence, has dropped off the negative suffix, and that al
(0) il (0) ul (u) and ir (in iru) are modifications of a common root-denoting being
or existence.
Turning to the subject of this article, I hope that I have endeavored my best to prove
that al in ayal is only a verbal suffix as in Kadal. Moreover ayal denotes nearness or vicinity
and ayalar are neighbors, or persons who dwell near one another. In primitive times when
towns and cities had not come into existence and when people lived in hamlets each clan by
itself, none but relations would be meant by ayalar or neighbors. Hence it amounts to an
absurdity to say that aiyal is an antonym of kin. In conclusion, I wish to point out that in
word-collocation the post fixing of al (not) is quite unknown to the Tamil language, and that
whenever it enters into the composition of names, it is invariably prefixed. Compare
G 0 and 0u (0 not, u - beautiful
and u shape).
S. W. COOMARASAWMY.