Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world, and you will find many literary works in this language. It has been recognised as the classical language by the Government of India. In Tamil there are 247 alphabets – 12 vowels, 18 consonants and 216 compound letters.
Despite having so many alphabets, spoken Tamil is not that difficult to learn. What you need is a lot of practice. Practice by speaking the language to other Tamil speakers. Initially, you may find it difficult to understand. Practice whenever you can – on your way to work, at school, etc.
Tamil like any other language has many big words. You can learn these big words fast by dividing it into parts. For instance, ‘hello’ is ‘Vanakkam’ in Tamil. You will easily get the pronunciation right if you say the word as – ‘vanna-kkum’.
Tamil letters are pronounced hard by giving a lot of force to each word. So while practicing you too try to pronounce words hard. You must also curl your tongue to learn Tamil letters and words. Try to curl or bend the tongue according to the sound of hard letters.
There are no precisely same sounding letters in English for Tamil. But some letters in Tamil have related sounds. However, one will be soft and the other will be hard.
You can learn the language from a teacher to get the diction right. There are also several CDs and DVDs for learning Tamil.
Go online and learn it!
You can also learn Tamil online. There are online videos, pdf’s or worksheets and forums to help people learn the language. So if there is no Tamil tuition classes or Tamil speaking people in your locality then go online. If anybody is available, you can practice by talking to them in Tamil.
Virtual universities: If you already know how to speak Tamil and would like to learn writing in Tamil, you can learn online. There are many Tamil virtual universities that help you learn Tamil with English as the medium. There are also playlists to learn Tamil with French as the medium.
Websites: There are several websites dedicated to teaching the language. And most of these websites cover basics, and are excellent for starters. There are specific websites for grammar and vocabulary, too.
Video lectures: You will also find wonderful video lectures, downloadable software and even sites where you can practice whatever you have learned.
Books: There are also books to help you learn Tamil, which you can purchase from Amazon.
Online tutors: If you don’t mind paying for classes, you will find a number of online tutors.
Mobile apps and online forums: Now, there are also mobile apps to help you learn the language. A few online forums also teach Tamil.
It is difficult to learn any new language, but it is not an impossible feat. So don’t give up. Start slowly and progress slowly. Try to make it a practice to learn the language at least for 20 minutes a day. As days go by you can increase the time and start speaking Tamil like a pro.