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Navigating the Dravidian Languages

  Tags: Malayalam | Telugu | Tamil
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19 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Senior Member
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 Message 9 of 19
14 December 2011 at 5:44am | IP Logged 
Tamils from Chennai have troubel understanding spoken Jaffna Tamil and Malayalam.
On the other hand Jaffna Tamil and Malayalam speakers understand each other perfectly.
When Asin visited Jaffna, she found it easier to use Malayalam than Chennai Tamil.

In Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Indian Tamils speak Indian Tamil and Sri Lanka (Jaffna and Colombo) Tamils speak Sri Lanka Tamil. They are two different peoples culturally and linguistically.

Sri Lanka Indian Tamils were always loyal to the Sri Lanka government,
while Jaffna Tamils fought the civil war against it.

Edited by Camundonguinho on 14 December 2011 at 5:47am

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Joined 3059 days ago

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Speaks: French*

 Message 10 of 19
20 January 2012 at 9:39pm | IP Logged 
Camundonguinho wrote:
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. :)

I'd like to be able to read newspapers or webpages about Sri Lanka in Tamil. It's unclear to me whether the books or the learning material available online is useful for this task (i.e. how close variants of Tamil are). Are usual Tamil language resources (like Teach Yourself, the Colloquial series, Assimil...) suitable for this task or is this a waste of time and should I rather concentrate on Sri Lanka-specific manuals or grammars (which ones?).
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 Message 11 of 19
20 January 2012 at 10:34pm | IP Logged 
Sadly, there is no Teach Yourself Tamil.
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Joined 3019 days ago

4 posts - 7 votes

 Message 12 of 19
21 January 2013 at 5:03pm | 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

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 Message 13 of 19
21 January 2013 at 5:23pm | IP Logged 
Juаn wrote:
Sadly, there is no Teach Yourself Tamil.

Believe it or not, there is a "Colloquial Tamil" (Routledge) course, though.

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 Message 14 of 19
21 January 2013 at 9:40pm | IP Logged 
hrhenry wrote:
Juаn wrote:
Sadly, there is no Teach Yourself Tamil.

Believe it or not, there is a "Colloquial Tamil" (Routledge) course, though.


... and an Assimil Tamoul Sans Peine if you can read French...
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 Message 15 of 19
22 January 2013 at 4:26am | IP Logged 
''Colloquial Tamil '' course does not use the Tamil script, but some kind of phonological (not phonetic!) respelling (which no Tamilian would ever use, not even in the most informal internet chat).
Furthermore, the dialect used is Chennai Tamil/Madras Bashai, which is not the standard of the colloquial Tamil (the central Tamil accent (Trichy, Madurai) is the closest to the standard colloquial Tamil; Anu from Koffee with Anu is from Trichy and she speaks very neutral, so does Sridevi who is from around Madurai). If you watch Tamil cinema, you can hear that Chennai Tamil is not prevalent, female actors don't use it, and as for men, many tone it down (except for some actors like Dhanush who keep the strong Chennai accent, with all those rounded nasalized vowels: marõ instead of maram).

சென்னை - Chennai
[tʃennai] formal Tamil
[tʃennei] standard colloquial Tamil (Trichy/Madurai accent)
[tʃenne] Chennai dialect/accent

மரம் - maram ''wood''
[maram] formal Tamil
[marãm] or [marã] standard colloquial Tamil (Trichy/Madurai accent)
[marõ] Chennai dialect/accent

''Standard Spoken Tamil evolves out of the middle class speakers, primarily non-brahmin castes, who are involved in mercantile and professional activities in central Tamilnadu i.e. Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Karur and South Arcot regions.''

Edited by Medulin on 22 January 2013 at 5:10am

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 Message 16 of 19
29 June 2013 at 3:54pm | IP Logged 
Today I found a nice free website for learning Telugu
If you click yourself through it seems quite

Not entirely sure yet but I think I'll give it a try.

Edited by Maikl on 29 June 2013 at 3:55pm

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