Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Navigating the Dravidian Languages

  Tags: Malayalam | Telugu | Tamil
 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
19 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
lichtrausch
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4317 days ago

525 posts - 1071 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Mandarin

 
 Message 1 of 19
08 December 2011 at 8:37pm | IP Logged 
I'd like to take a closer look at the Dravidian languages, and possibly even devote myself to learning one. The most important ones are Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. As far as number of native speakers go, Tamil and Telugu lead the pack. Tamil seems to have a significant literature, but suffers from a crass case of diglossia. What other information would be useful to someone deciding whether to learn a Dravidian language? What might attract someone to learning one of these languages? What are the pitfalls?
2 persons have voted this message useful



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3129 days ago

715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 2 of 19
08 December 2011 at 9:18pm | IP Logged 
I'm not an expert, but from what I've heard Tamil is much more purist in its vocabulary than the other three and has much fewer loanwords from Sanskrit, Persian and other Indo-European languages. So, on the one hand if you are already familiar with a northern Indian language learning Tamil vocabulary won't be as easy as the other three, but on the other hand knowing both Tamil and Sanskrit or Hindi would make the other Dravidian languages much more accessible in the long run.

Economic factors probably won't do much to attract learners. While South India is relatively successful economically and socially, especially in comparison to much of the Hindi belt, the Indian business world tends to value English much more highly than any of the native languages. Although it seems like the Tamils have quite a lot of linguistic pride, so they might be an exception.

If we talk about pop culture, the South Indian states have prolific film industries, with many iconic Bollywood stars, from Aishwariya Rai to Kajol, having debuted there. However, if you find Bollywood films too cheesy and unrealistic, then Kollywood (Tamil) and Tollywood (Telugu) films will show you that you ain't seen nothing yet! I've heard that Mollywood (Malayalam) films tend to be more serious though.

Edited by vonPeterhof on 08 December 2011 at 9:19pm

10 persons have voted this message useful



Camundonguinho
Triglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3106 days ago

273 posts - 500 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English, Spanish
Studies: Swedish

 
 Message 3 of 19
11 December 2011 at 2:53pm | IP Logged 
Malayalam is the only Dravidian language without diglossia (so written and spoken language are not distant). As a result, Malayalis love to read. Kerala is the Indian state with the highest literacy figures (95%).
Tamils generally don't like to read in Tamil because it's all written in very formal language. That's why translations of books like Harry Potter failed...Youngsters opted for the English original instead.

On the other hand, most foreign literature is translated to Malayalam (Paulo Coelho, Harry Potter) because they are book-crazy.

Tamilians are so proud of their language that they let so many students get away with not learning Tamil at all! Since Tamil is not compulsory subject in Tamil Nadu, and pupils can choose English education instead, many urban Tamils cannot read the written Tamil in a satisfactory way: that's why not many books published in Tamil per 1000 inhabitants.

Tamils can be outrageously purist.
The Sri Lankan Tamil hasn't been artificially changed in the last 100 years, so it's full of Sanskrit words tho'. Indian Tamil say Sri Lanka Tamil sounds like Malayalam and not like Indian Tamil.

For example, the word for THE MOON.

In Sri Lankan Tamil i'ts Sandiran.
If you use this word in Tamil Nadu, people will correct you saying ''Sandiran is from Sanskrit, you should use Niila''.

But, Nilla is a Sanskrit word meaning blue (color) [in Malayalam and in Tamil].
So, they calling the Moon ''the blue'', but it's still Sanskrit. Stupid and useless purism.

In Sri Lanka people are not ashamed to use Sandiran.

Learning Tamil is like learning Arabic. The written language hasn't changed from the 13th century while colloquial language changed a lot. Sri Lankan Tamil is closer to the written language, but the Indian Tamils say it sounds like Malayalam! That means they don't even know they own formal written language. :)

Edited by Camundonguinho on 11 December 2011 at 3:01pm

10 persons have voted this message useful



nunoxic
Triglot
Newbie
India
Joined 3092 days ago

17 posts - 37 votes
Speaks: English, Hindi, Marathi*

 
 Message 4 of 19
11 December 2011 at 4:08pm | IP Logged 
Are you taking up the language for a reason or just for fun?
If yes, then realize the following:
Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) - Telugu
Bangalore (Karnataka) - Kannada
Madras/Chennai (Tamil Nadu) - Tamil
Kerala - Malayalam (+ Sri Lanka/Singapore?)
Depends on where you wish to visit.
It is entirely possible to live in Bangalore with English. Trying to do that in Chennai
might give you "WTF" expressions. (My observation)

Now, I am about to make a generalization which is true most of the times: there are 2
groups of languages among which it is *possible* to understand the other.
Tamil - Malayalam
Telugu - Kannada (- Tulu?)

A Tamil speaking person *might* understand Malayalam and vice versa. However, people
from different groups will NOT understand each other.

Is travel your chief goal or literature?
About literature, I can't be too sure.

Edited by nunoxic on 11 December 2011 at 4:08pm

6 persons have voted this message useful



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3129 days ago

715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 5 of 19
11 December 2011 at 4:20pm | IP Logged 
nunoxic wrote:
Kerala - Malayalam (+ Sri Lanka/Singapore?)

You're confusing it with Tamil. Malayalam isn't official anywhere outside India.

nunoxic wrote:
Now, I am about to make a generalization which is true most of the times: there are 2
groups of languages among which it is *possible* to understand the other.
Tamil - Malayalam
Telugu - Kannada (- Tulu?)

A Tamil speaking person *might* understand Malayalam and vice versa. However, people
from different groups will NOT understand each other.

Malayalam separated from Tamil around the 9th century, before that they were dialects of the same language, usually called Middle Tamil. I don't think Telugu, Kannada and Tulu are that close to each other

Edited by vonPeterhof on 11 December 2011 at 4:24pm

1 person has voted this message useful



lichtrausch
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4317 days ago

525 posts - 1071 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Japanese
Studies: Korean, Mandarin

 
 Message 6 of 19
12 December 2011 at 7:41pm | IP Logged 
nunoxic wrote:

Is travel your chief goal or literature?

I don't have any particular goal in mind. Just trying to figure out the overall economic, political, and cultural significance of these languages. And also gather any other information that might entice or put off a language learner.
1 person has voted this message useful



Cthulhu
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 5580 days ago

139 posts - 235 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Mandarin, Russian

 
 Message 7 of 19
12 December 2011 at 10:12pm | IP Logged 
Camundonguinho: Where do you get your information regarding the state of Tamil literacy and publishing? Because it completely contradicts the sources I've seen (http://prayatna.typepad.com/publishing/india/page/2/ uses data from 2004, but according to it Malayalam and the other living Indian languages lag well behind Tamil in books published per capita, not including whatever Tamil books might be published in Sri Lanka), unless things have changed drastically in the last couple years.
1 person has voted this message useful



nunoxic
Triglot
Newbie
India
Joined 3092 days ago

17 posts - 37 votes
Speaks: English, Hindi, Marathi*

 
 Message 8 of 19
13 December 2011 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
vonPeterhof wrote:
nunoxic wrote:
Kerala - Malayalam (+ Sri Lanka/Singapore?)

You're confusing it with Tamil. Malayalam isn't official anywhere outside India.

nunoxic wrote:
Now, I am about to make a generalization which is true most of the
times: there are 2
groups of languages among which it is *possible* to understand the other.
Tamil - Malayalam
Telugu - Kannada (- Tulu?)

A Tamil speaking person *might* understand Malayalam and vice versa. However, people
from different groups will NOT understand each other.

Malayalam separated from Tamil around the 9th century, before that they were dialects
of the same language, usually called Middle Tamil. I don't think Telugu, Kannada and
Tulu are that close to each other


Oops. My bad. I meant Tamil.

Telugu Kannada and Tulu aren't that close but the script is fairly similar and the
effort required to learn either if you know one is substantially lower.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 19 messages over 3 pages: 2 3  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.4219 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.