The human brain is hard-wired to learn language from
birth. Young children have an innate ability to absorb and internalize
the language(s) being spoken around them. As children get older and
become teenagers, their ability to quickly learn new languages diminishes
greatly. Whereas a language immersion environment is all that is needed
to teach language to a young child, the older child and
teenager needs to learn new languages through a more structured approach.
The lessons found at this website will provide
the structure for learning Thamil through English. By learning
the grammar contained in the lessons, learners will be able to use
their knowledge of English to produce sentences in Thamil.
These lessons are based on the highly effective method used to teach
Thamil at universities and colleges in the United States of America.
The method was developed by linguists fluent in English and Thamil,
and it makes use of the student's fluency in English to teach written
Thamil. This knowledge of written Thamil can then be very easily applied
to learn the spoken language. I was born and raised
in the United States and never spoke Thamil until I was nearly 18
years old. I was first introduced to this method during the summer
of 1997, and I had achieved fluency in the written and spoken language
by the summer of 1999. To get an idea of my level of language
proficiency, read my articles in Thamil.
A prerequisite for using the lessons is knowledge of the Thamil alphabet.
Students should be able to sound out and read unfamiliar words (ezuththuk
koottip padiththal). Students should also be able to read and write
in English. Thus, the lessons are recommended for learners ages 10
and up. Lessons l-4 contained below have been successfully tested
on second-generation Thamil students in the age range of 10-12. The
only major problem was in the students difficulty pronouncing
long or unfamiliar words. While using the lessons, it
is important for students to read the Thamil words out
loud to practice pronunciation.
Younger learners who are in middle school and high school will most
likely require a teacher for the lessons. Also, for the younger learner,
the practice exercises given at the end of each lesson may not be
sufficient to reinforce the concepts covered in each lesson. Therefore,
teachers may need to supplement the exercises with practice exercises
of their own. Older learners who are in college and beyond can use
the lessons to learn independently. After teaching themselves the
concepts contained in the lessons, the older learner can then practice
these concepts with native speaker tutors. The terms younger
learner and older learner are meant to reflect differences in language
learning ability. This ability tends to correlate with the age of
The current lessons are written to teach Thamil Nadu Thamil.
If anyone is willing to help modify the lessons to teach Eelam Thamil,
please contact me.
I would appreciate any feedback, comments, questions, or suggestions
from students and teachers who are using these lessons. If you like
these lessons and want me to continue writing more, please send me