Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL)

Note on Names and Romanization in the RMRL Catalog
Tamil Romanization in the RMRL Catalog

Note on Names and Romanization in the RMRL Catalog

To persons used to seeing Tamil proper names romanized as they commonly are in English, the name forms used in this catalog may appear strange. They are in the Library of Congress (LC) romanization. This note will explain a little about this romanization and LC's use of names, to help users find authors and other names they are searching for. It should be noted that in all the examples, diacritics are omitted, just as they are currently in the catalog. Diacritics are an essential part of the LC romanization, but they are largely irrelevant to searching in this and other systems.

The Library of Congress romanization is a variant of that used in the Tamil Lexicon published by the University of Madras. One roman letter with its diacritics, if any, always represents a single Tamil letter, regardless of pronunciation. Thus the roman character c represents a Tamil letter that may be pronounced as s, ch, or j in different words, and likewise the roman letter k stands for a character that may be k, h, or g.

The Library of Congress also has a policy of using only one name for an author. This is called the "established form." Other possible forms are cross-referenced. Unfortunately, this catalog does not have cross references (in future these will be available), so you must use LC's established form. One way to find this entry form is to look up the author in your library's catalog, if you are at an American institution. Otherwise, try different forms of the name. Since RMRL has not completed cataloging, it is possible that variant forms might be used for a single author.

Example: Bharati, Shuddhananda, is the established form of an author. Variant entries might include: Shuddhananda Bharati; Cuttananta Parati; Bharati, Suddhananda; and so forth.

Some principles: If an author has written only in Tamil, the romanized form of his Tamil name is likely to be used. If a person is already well known in the English-speaking world by one form, that form will be used (e.g., Rajagopalachari, C. (Chakravarty)). LC rules call for using the last element in a name as if it were a surname, with few exceptions.

Below are some examples where the commonly used English spellings of names differ from LC romanization. Even though the straight romanized form may not be the established form, it may still appear in titles, e.g. Makatma Kanti, where the established form is Gandhi, Mahatma, 1969-1948. ("*" indicates LC established form.)

Common Spelling LC Romanization
Subrahmanya Bharati Cuppiramaniya Parati
(but LC established entry is *Paratiyar, 1881-1921)
Ilango Adigal *Ilankovatikal
U. V. Swaminath Aiyar *Caminataiyar, U. Ve.
Paranjyoti Munivar *Parancoti Munivar
Maraimalai Adigal Library *Maraimalaiyatikal Nulnilayam
Ramalinga Swami Iramalinka Atikal
(LC established form is *Ramalinga, Swami ...)
Madura Tamil Sangam *Maturait Tamilc Cankam
Nalayira Divya Prabandham *Nalayirat tivviyap pirapantam

Tamil Romanization in the RMRL Catalog
The romanization table below consists of three columns: (1) Tamil character; (2) the Library of Congress (LC) romanization with notes indicating diacritics; (3) the romanization used in this Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) catalog. It will be seen that the RMRL romanization is simply the LC romanization without the diacritics. Although the diacritics are included in the bibliographic records, it is not possible to display them now. In this catalog, as in most library systems, the diacritics are irrelevant in searching. The sequence of characters is the standard one found in most Tamil dictionaries; the grantha characters used for Indo-Aryan loanwods are at the end of the sequence.
Vowels & diphthongs

Tamil Character LC Romanizatio RMRL Character
a a a
a with macron macron a a
i i i
Tamil letter i with macron macron i i
Tamil letter u u u
Tamil letter u with macron macron u u
Tamil letter e e e
Tamil letter e with macron macron e e
Tamil letter ai ai ai
Tamil letter o o o
Tamil letter o with macron macron o o
Tamil letter au au au


Tamil Character LC Romanization RMRL Character
Tamil letter ka with underscore underscore ka ka
Tamil letter ka with underscore ka ka
Tamil letter na with dot above dot above na na
Tamil letter ca ca ca
Tamil letter na with tilde tilde na na
Tamil letter ta with dot below dot below ta ta
Tamil letter na with dot below dot below na na
Tamil letter ta ta ta
Tamil letter na na na
Tamil letter pa pa pa
Tamil letter ma ma ma
Tamil letter ya ya ya
Tamil letter ra ra ra
Tamil letter la la la
Tamil letter va va va
Tamil letter la with underscore underscore la la
Tamil letter la with dot below dot below la la
Tamil letter ra with underscore underscore ra ra
Tamil letter na with underscore underscore na na

Grantha characters

Tamil Character LC Romanization RMRL Character
Tamil letter ja ja ja
Tamil letter sa with acute acute sa sa
Tamil letter sa with dot below dot below sa sa
Tamil letter sa sa sa
Tamil letter ha ha ha

This table was drawn from ALA-LC romanization tables: transliteration schemes for non-roman scripts, compiled and edited by Randall K. Barry. Washington: Library of Congress, 1991.

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