Punctuation marks are used to denote the elongation, or accent, of the Solkattu (Jathi). This accent is termed Karvai.
The punctuation symbols used are Comma (,) and Semi-colon (;). Comma denotes a Karvai of one Mathirai, and Semi-colon denotes a Karvai of two Mathirai.
Karvai greater than two Mathirai are denoted by combining at most one Comma with more than one Semi-colon(s).
It should be noted that at maximum only one Comma can come in any representation and the Comma should always come in the inner portion of the syllables.
The first variation listed uses notations, where required, to incorporate the Karvai for the syllables (Sotkal). The second variation listed uses an elongated variant of the original syllable (Sollu) to incorporate the Karvai for example Theeng represents syllables Thing plus one comma (,) and equals to two Maathirai. The third variation is the syllables without the need for any notations as it combines the Kanda Jaathi syllables with various other syllables that replaces the Mathirai duration represented by the coma (,) and semi-colon (;).
For example, “Tha Ki Da” represents three Maathirai. The uses of such notations are illustrated below with the Ainthu, five, Jaathi Tha Thing Ki Na Thom.
When an individual syllable (Sollu) or group of syllables (Sotkal) has to be played in the next higher (second) speed (Rendaam Kaalam), a single underline below the syllable(s) is/are used to denote that. When the syllable or group of syllables has to be played at the second higher (third) speed (Moondraam Kaalam), a double underline below the syllable(s) is/are used to denote that. Sometimes over lines above the syllables are used instead of the underlines.
For example the 'Aathi Thaalam Theermanam’ listed below, starts with first speed, which is then varied further to accommodate slow, second and third speeds. The punctuations have been included to explain the distribution of the syllables to fit the Jaathi.
First speed: Madhiyama Kaalam.
The Theermanam has four syllables (Sotkal) per beat, each representing one Maathirai duration. Note: Tha, Kum, also represents four Maathirai duration. The Theermanam is represented as follows:
Slow Speed: Chavukka/Vilamba Kaalam.
The Theermanam has two syllables (Sotkal) per beat, except where the initial syllables are two per beat this has one. Each individual syllable represents two Maathirai durations and still totals, with the punctuations, four (2 x 2) Maathirai per beat. Since the Theermanam is slow it now occupies two Aavarthanam instead. The Theermanam is represented as follows:
Alternatively, the "Tha, Kum," can be removed and Tharikida can be distributed evenly to accommodate one Aavarthanam. The Theermanam is represented as follows:
Second Speed: Dhuritha Kaalam.
The Theermanam has eight syllables (Sotkal) per beat, each representing half a Maathirai duration, thus totalling four (1/2 x 8) Maathirai. Since the Theermanam now occupies four beats, four "Tha Thin Mi Thin" have been added to fill in the gaps (I.e. the first four beats). The Theermanam is represented as follows:
Alternatively, Three "Thakathiku Tharikida" can be added with the "Thom, ;" remaining in first speed. The Theermanam is represented as follows:
Third Speed: Athidhuritha Kaalam.
The Theermanam has sixteen syllables (Sotkal) per beat, each representing a quarter of a Maathirai duration, thus totalling four (1/4 x 16) Maathirai. Note: Three "Thakathiku Tharikida" and "Thalaangku Tharikida Thakathiku Tharikida" have been added to fill in the gaps, the "Thom, ;" remains at first speed. The Theermanam is represented as follows: