If learning some basic Tamil words is on your bucket list for the day, then you have clicked on the right link. Whether you are shifting to Chennai, planning a short stay, going for a business trip or visiting Chennai for a vacation. It is necessary to have basic knowledge about the local language.
Visiting a new place can be nerve wracking. If you are looking for a co-living space with all the facilities; if you are looking for a place to live with like minded individuals or looking for some basic Tamil words; GetSetHome is here to make your life easier. With this curated list of Tamil words, you will be a pro while participating in conversations. You will be ready to make a good first impression and at ease while conversing in the local language.
Tamil Words English Meaning
Ennaku For me
Terima? Do you know?
Theriyadu Don’t know
Anna Older Brother
Akka Older Sister
Irukka? Is there?
Athigam Too much
Neram aagum Time will it take
Venum I want
Venda I don’t want
Vanakkam! – Hello!
A respectful warm start to a conversation is always good. Greeting the person and asking how they are is the way to go. If you are trying to build a friendship or just a good 1st impression here are some simple phrases to guide you.
Neenga eppadi irukeenga? – How are you?
Un/Unga Peru enna? – What is your name?
Aama, ille, seri – Yes, No, Okay
These 3 words will cover a lot of conversational ground. You will find yourself using these words quite a lot. Simple and effective!
For example if some asks did you have your meal, or if you know the local language or is simply asking you if you are okay. There is a famous dialogue from the movie Dil Bechara which goes “Seri, Kizi Basu? – Seri.”
Saapteengala? – Had your meal? Aama – Yes
Tamil Terima? – Do you know Tamil? Ille – No
Seri? – Okay? Seri – Okay
Naan, Ennaku – I, for me
Ille, naan doesn’t mean bread. Naan means referring to yourself in 1st person. Enakku is used to express anything which you want to do or what you feel. Sharing your preferences or expressing your likes or dislikes about things.
Naan Indian – I’m Indian
Ennai Mannikkavum – I’m sorry
Enakku intha idam pudikkum – I like Chennai
Anna, Akka and Nandri – The magic words
Anna means older brother and akka means elder sister. It is a way of showing respect. So, make sure to start the conversation respectfully. Tamilians can easily understand even if you use some english words and will eagerly assist you if you show some effort to try and understand their language. At the end don’t forget to show some gratitude to everyone who helped you.
Akka/Anna, vanakkam! – Brother/Sister Greetings!
Excuse me, Tamil enakku theriyathu – Excuse me, I don’t know Tamil
Koncham help pannu! – Help me a little
Seri, nandri! – Okay, Thank you!
Asking for directions
The most important thing in an unknown land is knowing your way. If you are lost or simply looking to go somewhere, it is better to ask the locals, rather than completely rely on maps.
Hotel yenga irukku? – Where is the hotel?
ATM/Bathroom yenga irukku? – Where is the ATM/bathroom?
(Place) Eppadi poganum? – How do you reach (place)?
(Place) poganum – I have to go (place)
Navigating the city
You will have to talk with the auto rickshaw drivers within the city. It is advisable to first ask for the fare, distance and the time it will take to reach the destination. This may help while negotiating with local vendors as well.
Evvalo neram aagum – How long will it take?
Dhooram? – Distance?
While buying anything we would advise asking first. It could be an auto fair, water, snacks or soft drinks. You can manage this with just 4 simple words
Idhu Irukka? – Do you have this?
Idhu yevalo? – How much is this?
Yevalo Rubba Anna? – How many rupees, anna?
100 Romba Athigam – 100 is too much
Konjam price kammi pannunga anna/akka – Lower the price anna/akka
Buying and ordering food
The most important of all, food! Whether you are in a restaurant ordering food or just need a cup of coffee, all you need are these 3 simple phrases.
Tiffen yenna irukku? – What is there for breakfast/dinner?
Venum Kaapi – I want Coffee
Venda chicken – I don’t want Chicken
Bill kondu vaanga – Bring me bill