௧௨௩௪௫௬௭௮௯ – Tamil Numbers !!!

A number plate on a vehicle I came across in Thanjavur read:

த நா – ௪ ௯
அ அ – ௭ ௫ ௨ ௬

This inspired me to write a post on Tamil numbers.

Most of us believe and use the Hindu-Arabic numerals (0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9) in Tamil too … We also know that Hindi has its own representation (Devanagiri). How many of us know that Tamil has its own unique representation for these numbers?

Here is the list:

௧ = 1
௨ = 2
௩ = 3
௪ = 4
௫ = 5
௬ = 6
௭ = 7
௮ = 8
௯ = 9

Originally, Tamil did not have zero. Tamil also has numerals for 10, 100 and 1000.

௰ = 10
௱ = 100
௲ = 1000

Thus, the above number plate can be read as:

TN – 49
AA – 7526

If positional digits (10, 100, 1000) are used in represent numbers, this is how it is done:

2785 - ௨ ௲ ௭ ௱ ௮ ௰ ௫
இரண்டு – ஆயிரத்து – எழு – நூற்று – எண் – பத்து – ஐந்து

Interesting, is it not ?? But still, தமிழ் குடிமக்களே, please use English and Arabic numerals on your number plates !!!

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