A Guide to Madras BashaiChennai, one of the most happening metropolitan cities of South India is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is located in the southeastern seacoast region of the Indian Subcontinent, between the Eastern Ghats range of mountains and the Bay of Bengal of the Indian Ocean. Chennai is a celebrated commercial and industrial hub in South India, and a notable cultural, educational and economic center.
Did you know?
Madras Bashai is a local dialect used in a multilingual context.
The majority of the population of Chennai is, of course, Tamilians or Tamil people who use their mother tongue Tamil as the primary language for linguistic communication. Being a typical metropolitan city, that is to say, a prominent and densely populated urban area, Chennai has a considerable share of the population of people from the neighboring states and from all over the country. With that said, some of the other commonly spoken languages of Chennai include English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and a few other Indian languages. Apart from the local language, English is also an official language primarily used across commercial enterprises, educational institutions and across many white-collar professions.
Did you know?
From the 1950s, several Kollywood movies portrayed Madras Tamil in the form of wordplays.
Apart from the recognized languages, Chennai is the home of a unique language called as Madras Tamil or Madras Bashai. It is important to understand that Chennai Bashai is different than the various regional dialects of Tamil like:
- Kongu Tamil - spoken in Coimbatore and across several districts in the western region of Tamil Nadu (Also Read: Slangy Chennai Tamil vs Twangy Kongu Tamil)
- Madurai Tamil - spoken in Madurai and across several districts in the southern region of Tamil Nadu
- Tirunelveli Tamil - spoken in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) and across several districts in the southern region of Tamil
- Arabu Tamil - a scripted register of the Tamil language that extensively uses an Arabic alphabet
- Central Tamil - Spoken in Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur and a few other districts in the central region of Tamil Nadu
- Kumari Tamil - spoken extensively across the district of Kanyakumari
- Jaffna Tamil - spoken in Jaffna Peninsula (Northern Province, Sri Lanka) and across the northern region of Sri Lanka
- Ceylon Tamil (Sri Lankan Tamil) - spoken extensively by Sri Lankan Tamil people
- Negombo Tamil (Negombo Fishermen’s Tamil) - spoken by the fishermen of Negombo in Sri Lanka
- Batticaloa Tamil - spoken across Batticaloa and Ampara districts of Sri Lanka
- Brahmin Tamil - a Sanskritized variation of Tamil, extensively spoken by Brahmins in Tamil Nadu
- Iyengar Tamil - Spoken by Iyengars of Karnataka and abutting regions in South India
- Bangalore Tamil - spoken extensively in Bangalore as Tamil is the second most widely spoken language (after Kannada)
Did you know?
Madras Tamil or Madras Bashai has been made understandable to the general public by fishers from the northern Chennai and auto rickshaw drivers
Some scholars say that the origin of the Madras Bashai may be traced back to a few centuries ago but the language prospered only after 1950s. The language primarily grew along with trade, boomed in its rawest form, Madras Bashai or Madras Tamil has moved around far and wide. Volitionally adopting words and sometimes phrases, from other languages which include Hindi, Telugu, Dutch, Sanskrit, Urdu, Portuguese and French, Madras Tamil has become a strange mix of sounds and modulations, a few familiar and others, barely heard.
Did you know?
Madras Bashai blends words, postfixes and grammar patterns of various languages to form new words.
Today, Madras Bashai is the flavour of the Kollywood film industry that 'gaana' songs made full with words from Madras Tamil is the latest trend in the K-town. Some of the songs from recently released Tamil blockbusters like Shankar's I (Mersalaayitten), Gautam Vasudev Menon's Yennai Arindhaal (Adharu Adharu), KV Anand's Anegan (Danga Maari Oodhari) are on the lips of the kids and youngsters today. Not to forget the 1968 film Bommalattam directed by V. Srinivasan, starring Jai Shankar. The film featured a super-duper hit song 'Vaa Vaathyaare Ootaanda' by the legendary Manorama Aachi.
A funny song in 'Chennai Bashai' by the legendary actor Manorama Aachi
Movie: Bommalattam (1968)
Movie: Bommalattam (1968)
Did you know?
Kaviperarasu Vairamuthu, the renowned Tamil poet once said that the Madras Bashai will prosper as long as the labours exist in Chennai.
The song literally glorified the Madras Tamil across the nook and corners of Tamil Nadu. Thanks to the notable actors of Tamil cinema like Kalaivanar N.S. Krishnan (NSK), Cho Ramaswamy, Thengai Srinivasan, Surli Rajan, Loose Mohan, Janagaraj and more lately, Padma Shri Kamal Kaasan who made Madras Bashai famous among the Tamil people. The multi-talented legend, J. P. Chandrababu, who acted in more than 100 movies, was a master of Madras Bashai. Beyond question, these veteran actors took Madras Bashai among people of all classes and through the entire state of Tamil Nadu.
Although, it is a popular belief that Madras Bashai is used only by a section of people in the city, it is very difficult to find a Tamilian in Chennai who is not acquainted with this interesting dialect. For people who are outside of Chennai or from another state, imagine that you are in Chennai for a sightseeing trip, you are negotiating with an auto rickshaw driver and he says
"Enna baa, nama kailaye wraang pannriye" (do not mess with me)
it would not be a good idea to show him that you don't understand a single word he is uttering. Even if you are not able to have a conversation with him in Madras Bashai, it would not hurt if you have the interest to understand some of the basic words of the dialect.
Find below a guide comprising some of the basic and widely used words and phrases from Madras Bashai:Madras Bashai: Inna baa Selvam?
Standard Tamil: Enna pa Selvam?
Meaning: What Selvam?
Madras Bashai: Payam thunriya?
Standard Tamil: Pazham sapdriya?
Meaning: Want to have a fruit?
Madras Bashai: Annaathe
Standard Tamil: Anna
Meaning: Elder brother
Madras Bashai: Yakka
Standard Tamil: Akka
Meaning: Elder sister
Madras Bashai: Appalae
Standard Tamil: Appuram
Madras Bashai: Asalta
Standard Tamil: Sulabhama
Meaning: To perform something easily
Madras Bashai: Baamaayilu
Standard Tamil: Panai ennai
Meaning: Palm oil
Madras Bashai: Bejaar
Standard Tamil: Thollai
Meaning: Nuisance or disturbance
Madras Bashai: Biscothu
Standard Tamil: Roti
Madras Bashai: Thuddu
Standard Tamil: Panam
Madras Bashai: Gabbu
Standard Tamil: Naatram
Meaning: Foul smell
Madras Bashai: Gapsaa
Standard Tamil: Poi
Madras Bashai: Iskool
Standard Tamil: Pallikoodam
Madras Bashai: Jagaa vaangaradhu
Standard Tamil: Idathai vitu nagardhal
Meaning: To escape from the spot
Madras Bashai: Jalpu
Standard Tamil: Jaladosham
Meaning: To catch cold
Madras Bashai: Voodu
Standard Tamil: Veedu
Madras Bashai: Jolly vidurathu
Standard Tamil: Rasipadhu
Meaning: Look at with amorous intentions
Madras Bashai: Jujubee mattru
Standard Tamil: Elithana vishayam
Meaning: Easy thing to do
Madras Bashai: Keivi
Standard Tamil: Kilavi
Meaning: Old woman
Madras Bashai: Kena
Standard Tamil: Muttaal
Madras Bashai: Kishnayil
Standard Tamil: Mannennai
Madras Bashai: Machi
Standard Tamil: Synonymous with Nanba, Thozha
Meaning: Friend, buddy, dude, wife's brother
Madras Bashai: Majaa
Standard Tamil: Anubhavi
Madras Bashai: Manjaa Soru
Standard Tamil: Dhairiyam
Meaning: denotes to a bravery of men
Madras Bashai: Meyaaluma
Standard Tamil: Unmaiyava
Meaning: Is it true or really?
Madras Bashai: Sokka
Standard Tamil: Sattai
Madras Bashai: Takkaru
Standard Tamil: Arumai
Madras Bashai: Thamaasu
Standard Tamil: Nagaichuvai
Madras Bashai: Udhaaru
Standard Tamil: Migaipaduthuthal
Meaning: to enlarge beyond bounds or the truth
Madras Bashai: Dupakur
Standard Tamil: Yematrupervazhi
Madras Bashai: Nainah
Standard Tamil: Appa
Madras Bashai: Bemani
Standard Tamil: Niyayam illathavan
Meaning: Dishonest person
Madras Bashai: OC
Standard Tamil: Villai illa
Meaning: Free of cost
Madras Bashai: AaaKoa
Standard Tamil: Aarva kolaaru
Meaning: Over enthusiastic
Madras Bashai: Aaf-Paayil
Standard Tamil: Arai vekaadu muttai
Meaning: Half boiled egg
Madras Bashai: Aattaya poadrathu
Standard Tamil: Thiruduvadhu
Meaning: To steal
Madras Bashai: Allakai
Standard Tamil: Valadhu kai
Meaning: Synonymous with Toady, Bootlicking
Madras Bashai: Istukinnu or ituukunu
Meaning: bring or drag along
Madras Bashai: Kundaka mandaka
Meaning: twisted talk
Madras Bashai: Sokkakira
Meaning: Looking good
Madras Bashai: Vootla soltu vandhiya
Meaning: Be careful on the road
Madras Bashai: Kelambu kaathu varatum
Meaning: Stop talking or move away
Madras Bashai: Scene podatha
Meaning: Do not show off
Madras Bashai: Tube light
Meaning: Absent minded
Madras Bashai: Yechuse me
Meaning: Excuse me
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