Puducherry

They complete spoken Tamil course in six weeks

Students from different countries receive their certificates of participation from Education Minister T. Thiagarajan at Tamil Summer School - 2015 in Puducherry.— Photo: S.S. Kumar

Students from different countries receive their certificates of participation from Education Minister T. Thiagarajan at Tamil Summer School - 2015 in Puducherry.— Photo: S.S. Kumar  

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Tamil Summer School, initiated in 1998, is gaining popularity

She has not just learnt to speak the language but also developed a liking for idli, sambar and kara kuzhambu and even caught the film ‘Bahubali’ during her time here. Chiharu Obata, a student of MA Linguistics at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, is among the 15 students who have completed a spoken Tamil course at Tamil Summer School 2015, a programme organised by Puducherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture, under the Department of Art and Culture in Puducherry.

Last week, Education Minister T. Thiagarajan distributed certificates to students on the completion of the course. G. Ravishankar, course director, said that the annual course ran for six hours a day on six days a week, and for six weeks.

Tamil Summer School was initiated in 1998 by the Department of Social Sciences, French Institute of Pondicherry, to offer training to language researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences, according to the course brochure.

The Faculty of Linguistics, PILC, had been organising this course since 2004, having English and Tamil as medium of teaching. The course was based on materials specially designed with a basic and intermediate level being offered, it said.

Not just language

The course had gained popularity by word of mouth, and Puducherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture invited applications by sending out emails to universities abroad, which had Tamil language and other related courses, said Mr. Ravishankar.

In this year’s course, 15 students participated. These included university students, faculty, and researchers from Germany, Canada, Austria, Portugal, France, Israel and Japan, he said. The students arranged for their own accommodation, and were helped by the PILC staff.

The course was aimed at helping scholars acquire linguistic tools to do field studies in Tamil, and for those trained in written Tamil, and others to be able to communicate in Tamil Nadu and other Tamil-speaking areas.

“Learning Tamil is helpful in research on grammar,” said Ms. Obata. She is also transcribing and analysing conversational Tamil for a study in the usage of verbs.

Antonio Barrento, who teaches Chinese History at the University of Lisbon, and a student of the batch, said, “It has been fantastic. We had four different teachers with different approaches to engage with us. The course included activities like field trips to villages where we spoke to the residents in Tamil, and visits by musicians and dancers at the PILC. The course was not just language-oriented, but also included insights into culture.”

Mr. Barrento added, “Apart from teaching Chinese History, I also deal with Asian studies. Thus the course has provided me with the knowledge about a certain reality of India. I can integrate what I have learnt here in my teaching. We also made friends with fellow students and the team.”

The students appeared to have enjoyed their stay in Puducherry, especially the Beach Promenade.

Mr. Barrento said, “Puducherry is an interesting town. One can see different realities separated by just a canal. Different spaces exist here within a small area.”



“Thus the course has provided me with the knowledge about a certain reality of India,” says a student



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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:40:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/they-complete-spoken-tamil-course-in-six-weeks/article7627336.ece

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