Venpa ("வெண்பா" in Tamil) is a form of classical Tamil poetry. Classical Tamil poetry has been classified based upon the rules of metric prosody. Such rules form a context-free grammar. Every Venpa consists of between two to twelve lines.

Popular books written in Venpa style

# All 1330 couplets from Tirukkural, composed by Tiruvalluvar are examples of Venpa. Tirukkural comes under a sub-category of Venpa called Kural Venpa, wherein each Kural has only two lines.
# Nala venpa1 is another classical work written in venpa style.
# Niti venpa2 is another venpa style book that preaches values.

Basic units of meter in classical Tamil poetry

Vowels and consonant-vowel compounds in Tamil alphabet have been classified into ones with short sounds ("kuril") and the ones with long sounds ("nedil"). A sequence of one or more of these units optionally followed by a consonant can form a ner asai (the Tamil word "asai" roughly corresponds to "syllable") or a nirai asai depending on the duration of pronunciation. Ner and Nirai are the basic units of meter in Tamil prosody. A sIr or cheer is a type of metrical foot that roughly corresponds to an iamb. Thalai is the juxtaposition of iambic patterns.

Grammar for meter in Venpa

A set of well defined metric rules define the grammar for Venpa. Such rules have been proved to form a Context-free grammar. [cite conference
first = BalaSundaraRaman
last = L
authorlink =
coauthors = Ishwar. S, Sanjeeth Kumar Ravindranath
date = 2003-08-22
title = Context Free Grammar for Natural Language Constructs - An implementation for Venpa Class of Tamil Poetry
booktitle = Proceedings of Tamil Internet, Chennai, 2003
editor =
others =
edition =
publisher = International Forum for Information Technology in Internet
location =
pages = 128-136
url =
format =
accessdate = 2006-08-24
doi =
id =

One set of rules constrains the duration of sound for each word or "cheer", while another set of rules defines the rules for the possible sounds at the beginning of a word that follows a given sound at the end of the preceding word. Any Venpa should conform to both these sets of rules.

Following is the set of production rules corresponding to the first set of rules.

{1-11} | | | | | | | | | | | | | | → {VOWELS OR COMPOUNDS WITH A SHORT SOUND} → {VOWELS OR COMPOUNDS WITH A LONG SOUND} → {CONSONANTS, WHICH HAVE AN EXTREMELY SHORT SOUND} 1. {1-11} is not a standard BNF notation but a widely accepted EBNF notation indicating repetition of number of times specified in the range. 2. The grammar has some redundant productions that have been retained so as to preserve the semantics as described originally in Tamil grammar.

Following is the set of production rules corresponding to the second set of rules.

| | | [If the above rules are conformed to, the "thalai" is said to be "Iyarcheer vendalai"] [If the above rules are conformed to, the "thalai" is said to be "Vencheer vendalai"]


Following is a couplet from Tirukkural:

உடுக்கை இழந்தவன் கைபோல ஆங்கே இடுக்கண் களைவதாம் நட்பு. "(a translation by G U Pope)" "As hand of him whose vesture slips away, Friendship at once the coming grief will stay. (True) friendship hastens to the rescue of the afflicted (as readily) as the hand of one whose garment is loosened (before an assembly)."


External links

* [ Nala Venpa (pdf version)]
* [ வெண்பா புனைவோம் வருக (Let's write Venpa)]
* [ யாப்புலகம் ]
* [ வெண்பா விதிகள்]
* [ வெண்பாவின் ஈற்றடி ]
* [ Niti Venpa (TSCII encoding)]
* [ Rules for Venpa]
* [ Context Free Grammar for Natural Language Constructs. An implementation for Venpa Class of Tamil Poetry] (2003, conference paper)
* [ இயன்ற வரையிலும் இனிய தமிழில்]
* [ ஹரிமொழி]
* [ என்பாக்கள்]

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