REPORT ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF
UNITED NATIONS ROMANIZATION SYSTEMS FOR GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES
Compiled by the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Version 2.2, January 2003
The United Nations recommended system was approved in 1972 (II/11) and amended in 1977 (III/12), based on a report prepared by D. N. Sharma. The tables and their corrections were published in volume II of the conference reports (Second United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. London, 10-31 May 1972. Vol. II. Technical papers. United Nations. New York 1974, pp. 153-154; Third United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Athens, 17 August - 7 September 1977. Vol. II, Technical papers, pp. 393 etc.).
There is no evidence of the use of the system either in India, Sri Lanka or in international cartographic products.
Tamil uses an alphasyllabic script whereby each character represents a syllable rather than one sound. Vowels and diphthongs are marked in two ways: as independent characters (used syllable-initially) and in an abbreviated form, to denote vowels after consonants. The romanization table is unambiguous. The system is on the whole reversible.
I. Independent vowel characters
II. Abbreviated vowel characters and other symbols (ஜ stands for any consonant character)
III. Consonant characters
For differences between the UN system and the ISO transliteration standard ISO 15919: 2001 see the section on the romanization of Hindi.