The Tholkāppiyam (Tamil: தொல்காப்பியம், literally Paleo-literature) is a work on the grammar of the Tamil language and the earliest extant work of Tamil literature and linguistics. And Tholkappiyam was written by tholkappiyar

It is written in the form of noorpaa or short formulaic compositions and comprises three books – the Ezhuttadikaram (“Eluthu” meaning letter), the Solladikaram (“Sol” meaning word) and the Poruladikaram (“Porul” meaning definition). Each of these books is further divided into nine chapters each.

While the exact date of the work is not known, based on linguistic and other evidence, it has been dated variously between the 3rd century BCE and the 5th century CE. Some modern scholars prefer to date it not as a single entity but in parts or layers. There is also no firm evidence to assign the authorship of this treatise to any one author.

Tholkappiyam deals with orthography, phonology, morphology, semantics, prosody and the subject matter of literature. The Tholkāppiyam classifies the Tamil language into sentamil and koduntamil. The former refers to the classical Tamil used almost exclusively in literary works and the latter refers to the dialectal Tamil, spoken by the people in the various regions of ancient Tamilagam.

Tholkappiyam categorises alphabet into consonants and vowels by analysing the syllables. It grammatises the use of words and syntaxes and moves into higher modes of language analysis. The Tholkāppiyam formulated thirty phonemes and three dependent sounds for Tamil.

தொன்மை + காப்பியம்
“ஈறு போதல்” என்னும் விதிப்படி
தொன்மை + காப்பியம்
தொன் + காப்பியம்
“முன்னின்ற மெய்திரிதல்” என்னும் விதிப்படி
தொன்ல் + காப்பியம்
தொல் + காப்பியம்


  • Eluthadhigaram
  • Solladhiharam
  • Poruladhiharam

Every Chapters are divided into 9 subdivisions. Now we saw about these chapters as shortly.


  • Nuul Marabu
  • Mozhi Marabu – This section defines rules which specify where in a word can a letter not occur and which letter can not come after a particular letter. It also describes elision, which is the reduction in the duration of sound of a phoneme when preceded by or followed by certain other sounds. The rules are well-defined and unambiguous. They are categorised into 5 classes based on the phoneme which undergoes elision. That are 1.Kutriyalugaram, 2. Kutriyalagaram, 3. Aiykaarakkurukkam, 4. Oukaarakkurukkam, 5. Aaythakkurukkam
  • PiRappiyal
  • Punariyal
  • Thokai Marabu
  • Urubiyal
  • Uyir Mayangiyal
  • Pulli Mayangiyal
  • Kutriyalukara PunaRiyal


  • VEtRumaiyiyal,
  • VEtrumaimayangial,
  • ViLimaRabu,
  • Peyariyal,
  • Vinaiyiyal,
  • Idaiyiyal,
  • Uriyiyal,
  • Echchaviyal.


  • AkaththiNaiyiyal,
  • PuRaththiNaiyiyal,
  • KaLaviyal,
  • KaRpiyal,
  • PoruLiyal,
  • Meyppaattiyal,
  • Uvamayiyal,
  • SeyyuLiyal,
  • Marabiyal.