The thought of learning a new language seems complex and tend to intimidate many people. This is because, it does not come naturally, one has to put in a lot of effort to learn it. Furthermore, other than the general difficulties faced by learners of a new language the fact is that every language has its own particular characteristics and nuances that present difficulties for people who wish to learn it.
However, if you break language learning down into four parts — reading, writing, listening and speaking, it becomes a more manageable process. These four parts are interconnected in some way, shape or form.
We have also added immersion as an additional part of enhancing Tamil learning as it is instrumental to mastering the language.
We will share some of our favourite tips to master each aspect of Tamil language.
Click here to find out what are the benefits of learning Tamil.
Speaking Tamil Fluently
Tamil is a diglossic language where the written form is different from the standard spoken version. So, learning spoken Tamil is important to be able to communicate with other native speakers. Many who learn Tamil, are afraid to speak it due to fear of making mistakes. However, the ultimate end goal of achieving fluency is to speak Tamil with clarity and be understood by others.
Therefore, take the risk of making mistakes in order to learn and be fluent in spoken Tamil. You may have started with memorising common words and phrases as a beginner. As you move forward, you will need to master the ability to communicate spontaneously with others to have a natural flow of conversation.
Learn Tamil with a Tutor
Having a tutor who is qualified, knowledgeable and also skilled as a native speaker will help you improve fluency. You will be able to hear how to pronounce Tamil words accurately. Furthermore, communicating with the tutor will helps with sentence structure.
You can find private tutors here in Superprof if you are looking for someone who can guide you in learning Tamil.
Learn Tamil by Speaking to Yourself
It is good to speak out aloud to yourself to reduce your inhibition. It will serve as a good practice session to have a conversation in Tamil on your own. You can imagine everyday situations that you might go through and have a conversation that you think might take place. For example, if you sometimes frequent a South Indian restaurant where they have Tamil native speakers, you can practice greeting the waiter and ordering food in Tamil.
When you actually visit the restaurant in reality, you will find that you are able to speak with more ease because you have practiced it. Of course, the flow of conversation will not be exactly the same as when you practiced alone, but it will help you feel more confident.
Listening to Improve Tamil
Generally, people tend to overlook the importance or listening in language learning over speaking. If you do not listen, how will you improve in the other elements: speaking, reading and writing?
Many people tend to remember real-life conversations as opposed to what they have read in an article. Listening is an important part of language learning. You can take your time to read and write. You can choose to double check everything before you submit your written work. However, when you are having a conversation, listening skills come into play. There is a time limit for you to listen and understand what is being said and come up with a proper response in order to have a normal smooth flowing conversation.
It is essential to note that writing and reading are interconnected with speaking and listening. And the progress in any of these areas influences one another.
Listen to Songs
Songs can be a fun and meaningful way to improve your Tamil language skills. Spotify and YouTube are among the many platforms where you can find Tamil songs easily. Listening and singing along with Tamil songs is a fun way to learn pronunciations of Tamil words.
Some songs like Dippam Dappam from Kaathuvaakula Rendu Kaadhal film uses a mixture of Tamil and English words in a light and fun way. This might be useful for beginners as it will be easier to follow the meaning of the song.
If you are at the intermediate stage of learning Tamil, songs with full Tamil lyrics will be better suited for you. Good examples of songs like this are Munbe Vaa from Sillunu Oru Kadhal and En Iniya Pon Nilavae from Moodu Pani. Explore and find great Tamil melodies and improve your language skills at the same time.
Click here to find out more about the rich history of Tamil culture.
Watching Tamil movies are another great way to learn Tamil language. Tamil film industry, referred to as Kollywood is India’s second-biggest movie industry. Watching Tamil movies will help you familiarise with the spoken language and widens your vocabulary. Tamil movies are available in Netflix, Amazon Prime and many other platforms. The movies in Netflix and Amazon Primes comes with English subtitles which will help you understand the dialogues and follow the meaning. This is a good method to learn the language fast. Everyone will have different tastes and preferences when it comes to movie genres. Look out for movies by well-known Tamil directors like Mani Ratnam, K. Balachander and S. Shankar. You can find a long list of movies online with reviews. A word of advice is not to go for comedy movies when you first start watching Tamil movies as you may have difficulty understanding the jokes as it may be tricky to make sense of the colloquial form and slang. Historical fiction based Tamil movies like Bahubaali will not be of assistance in everyday conversation skills because it uses the formal Tamil.
What are the differences between Hindi and Tamil? Click here to find out.
Practice your Writing
Writing is a good way to express yourself. Speaking and writing is a productive process where action is needed to produce language as opposed to listening and reading where you are required to take in information.
When you practice writing Tamil, you tend to look up spellings and new vocabulary to connect sentences. This will help you in speaking the language as well.
Have another Person Review your Work
It is always good to have another native speaker review your writing to give your proper feedback to improve. It can be a friend, language exchange partner or your tutor. You can also opt to write e-mails or chat with your friends in Tamil. HiNative is a great resource for getting some help from native speakers.
Keep a Journal in Tamil
Writing a journal or diary is a good way to practice writing in Tamil. You can write about how your day went or any interesting event that captured your attention. Spending some time everyday to write in your journal will be a good practice to improve your Tamil writing skills.
By writing your own personal experiences, you will feel more engaged in learning the language. You will be motivated to learn new words and widen your vocabulary to be able to express yourself better in Tamil. By writing everyday, you are able to track your progress. The improvement in your writing as time passes will show how far you have come and motivate you to continue further.
Read What you Love
Reading Tamil materials like books, magazines, newspaper articles or online article will help you become familiar with Tamil words and grammatical rules. This will also help in expressing your own thoughts in the form of writing and speaking. Even though you start reading in a slow pace, if you keep up reading consistently, you will get better. Do look up words that you don’t understand in the dictionary.
If you generally like to read entertainment news, then look for similar materials in Tamil language. Do not try to read materials that do not interest you. You will tend to lose motivation to continue reading it. If you are interested in reading literature, you can explore the five great epics of Tamil literature, Seevaka-chintamani, Silappatikaram, Manimekalai, Kundalakesi and Valayapathi.
Immerse yourself in Tamil
Immersion is where you master the Tamil language by surrounding yourself around people who speak in Tamil and use it to communicate with them.People who move to a country where Tamil is spoken or get involved in a student exchange will have higher levels of fluency.
Of course not everyone can afford to just pick up and travel to Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka. Simply by doing your everyday activities you can immerse yourself in Tamil and improve.
Browse Social Media
One good way to immerse yourself in Tamil is through social media. You can create new social media accounts where you only follow Tamil influencers, celebrities and public figures who interest you.
Do not use your existing social media accounts where the English feed are included in order for it to totally be in Tamil. This will help you pick up new vocabulary and interesting colloquial phrases. You will get the opportunity to observe how Tamil native speakers communicate in their posts. You can also write in the comments section in Tamil to express your thoughts.
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