Arwi is a variety of Tamil used by Muslims in Tamil Nadu in India, and in Sri Lanka. It is written with the Arabic script, and helps Tamil Muslims to learn Arabic so that they can read the Quran and other literary works in Arabic.
Arwi is used to write about Sufism, law and medicine, as well as to write religious works. It is thought that by using the Arabic script to write about such things, mispronunciations of Arabic terms are less likely than if they are transliterated into the Tamil alphabet.
Arwi is not used very often, however is still taught in schools in southern India, and attempts are being made to increase its use.
Tamil (தமிழ்), a Dravidian language spoken by around 52 million people mainly in southern India and Sri Lanka.
ب, ث, خ, ح, ذ, ض, ص, ع, ظ, ط, غ and ق are only used in Arabic loanwords.
Download an Arwi alphabet chart (Excel)
Details of the Arwi script and sample text supplied by Michael Peter Füstumum
Maṉitap piṛaviyiṉar čakalarum čutantiramākavē piṛakkiṉṛaṉar; avarkaḷ matippilum urimaikaḷilum čamamāṉavarkaḷ. Avarkaḷ niyāyattaiyum maṉačāṭčiyaiyum iyaṛpaṇpākap peṛṛavarkaḷ. Avarkaḷ oruvaruṭaṉoruvar čakōtara uṇarvup pāṅkil naṭantukoḷḷal vēṇṭum.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
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Page last modified: 23.04.21
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