There is a saying in Tamil that was quoted by the famous Tamil Poet Avvaiyar, Chithiramum Kai Pazhakkam Senthamizhum Naapazhakkam, which means that the finest art is the practice of the hand; the eloquence in Tamil literature is the practice of the tongue. This is true with any language. The more you practice speaking a language, the sooner you will be able to master it. This is particularly true with this ancient language, Tamil.
Here are a few effective ways in which you can easily learn to speak and write in Tamil.
Tip 1: There can be no other better way to learn Tamil, than by talking with your friends. It would be even more effective if you are able to make friends with someone who knows no other language, but Tamil. This will help you to communicate with that person only in Tamil, which will gradually increase your ability to speak.
Tip 2: Try watching Tamil movies which are either bilingual or dubbed or remade in some other language like English or Hindi from Tamil. As you watch the movie in Tamil, you will know the story and you can be able to understand the dialogues and their meaning. Avoid comedy movies as you won’t be able to understand the jokes easily as they are mostly slang based. Choose good movies where they talk in a slow fashion, which will help you. Try to watch movies that were made after 1980s. Old Tamil cinema contains pure poetic Tamil, which won’t help you much in learning it for colloquial usage.
Tip 3: Fall in love with Tamil. This is very important prior to actually learning the language. If you don’t have that chemistry, there is no use in studying Tamil for years. Only your interest can give you the ability to learn it as quickly as possible.
Tip 4: Watch Tamil cookery shows, where you will be acquainted with different words for various ingredients like Paruppu for Dhal, Paal for Milk, Muttai for Egg and so on. Make a note of those words that you learn and later revise it and try to use it while you do grocery shopping. This will help you to get a hold of the Tamil vocabulary.
Tip 5: Feel free to speak in Tamil. Don’t worry if you feel what you speak might be wrong. Don’t be shy if you stagger. Just keep going as practice is the only thing that can make you perfect. Moreover, most of the Tamilians will help you if they come to know that you are trying to learn Tamil.
Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world, and you will find many literary works in this language. It has been recognised as the classical language by the Government of India. In Tamil there are 247 alphabets – 12 vowels, 18 consonants and 216 compound letters.
Despite having so many alphabets, spoken Tamil is not that difficult to learn. What you need is a lot of practice. Practice by speaking the language to other Tamil speakers. Initially, you may find it difficult to understand. Practice whenever you can – on your way to work, at school, etc.
Tamil like any other language has many big words. You can learn these big words fast by dividing it into parts. For instance, ‘hello’ is ‘Vanakkam’ in Tamil. You will easily get the pronunciation right if you say the word as – ‘vanna-kkum’.
Tamil letters are pronounced hard by giving a lot of force to each word. So while practicing you too try to pronounce words hard. You must also curl your tongue to learn Tamil letters and words. Try to curl or bend the tongue according to the sound of hard letters.
There are no precisely same sounding letters in English for Tamil. But some letters in Tamil have related sounds. However, one will be soft and the other will be hard.
You can learn the language from a teacher to get the diction right. There are also several CDs and DVDs for learning Tamil.
Go online and learn it!
You can also learn Tamil online. There are online videos, pdf’s or worksheets and forums to help people learn the language. So if there is no Tamil tuition classes or Tamil speaking people in your locality then go online. If anybody is available, you can practice by talking to them in Tamil.
Virtual universities: If you already know how to speak Tamil and would like to learn writing in Tamil, you can learn online. There are many Tamil virtual universities that help you learn Tamil with English as the medium. There are also playlists to learn Tamil with French as the medium.
Websites: There are several websites dedicated to teaching the language. And most of these websites cover basics, and are excellent for starters. There are specific websites for grammar and vocabulary, too.
Video lectures: You will also find wonderful video lectures, downloadable software and even sites where you can practice whatever you have learned.
Books: There are also books to help you learn Tamil, which you can purchase from Amazon.
Online tutors: If you don’t mind paying for classes, you will find a number of online tutors.
Mobile apps and online forums: Now, there are also mobile apps to help you learn the language. A few online forums also teach Tamil.
It is difficult to learn any new language, but it is not an impossible feat. So don’t give up. Start slowly and progress slowly. Try to make it a practice to learn the language at least for 20 minutes a day. As days go by you can increase the time and start speaking Tamil like a pro.
It’s difficult to learn any new language but it’s not an impossible feat. If you’re looking for tamil tuition in Singapore visit Sigaram Tamil Tuition, a small group tuition for primary, secondary & all levels.
- One of the oldest classical languages in the world is the Tamil language. Studies show that an ancient but deformed form of Tamil called Tamazight is spoken by one of the tribes in Cameroon in Africa.
- In Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, historians have found Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. However, they have not succeeded in providing an exact date of its origin. It is believed that the language has been spoken since 500 BC.
- During the pre-colonial era Tamil was one of the main languages used for trade.
- The ancient principality of Kamarinadu existed between India and Ethiopia. Ancient Tamils conquered Kamarinadu, which connected India and Ethiopia, and spread the language to Africa.
- It is one of the most difficult and oldest languages in the country (more than 50,000 years old). This Dravidian language is one of the major South Indian languages, and is spoken by over 60 million people in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The original Indians spoke Sanskrit in North, Tamil in South, and Austro-Asiatic in the east.
- It is believed that the Mayans of the Maya Civilization of South America were actually Tamils and spoke a dialect of Tamil. Studies also show that the language of the Jews, Hebrew, derived from Tamil. This is because of the Tamil exodus to Africa via the middle-east.
Facts and numbers
- Tamil has obtained the classical status. In fact, it’s one of the first languages to attain this status.
- Today, Tamil is spoken not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in northern Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa and Fiji. 1% of the world’s population are Tamil speaking people, and it is the 15th most spoken language in the world.
- Tamil has been bestowed with official language status in quite a few countries, and it is one of most widely spoken languages in the world.
Tamils are of Dravidian origin. The four major Dravidian (South Indian) languages are Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. Among the Dravidian language family Tamil is considered as the foremost language. The Dravidians form the majority of the population of south India, and there are around 220 million native speakers of Dravidian languages in the world.
Diglossia – spoken and written
Tamil uses two dialects or languages, and when a language community uses two dialects it is known as diglossia. They are known as H or ‘high’ type and the L or ‘low’ type in linguistic parlance. The H or ‘high’ type is found in literature. It is also used in religious ceremonies and education as it is more formal, traditional and esteemed. The ‘low’ type is used in everyday parlance. The ‘high’ type is found in ancient Tamil texts, which are a storehouse of knowledge. They have been translated into many languages and are appreciated by people across the globe.