As one of the oldest languages of the world still in use, Tamil enjoys a privileged place. It is recognized as a classical language by scholars and researchers, such as professor George L. Hart of University of California, Berkeley. As proud as native speakers of Tamil are of its heritage and ancient roots, they still need to communicate effectively in English for official purposes and other reasons. If you are a Tamilian, you can learn English through Tamil with some effort.
Get a copy of a book that translates Tamil words and phrases into English and vice versa. "Learn English in 30 Days Through Tamil," by B.R. Kishore, is one example, and another popular choice is "Rapidex English Speaking Course through Tamil." Carry the book with you at all times until you are fluent in English, so you can refer to it and converse in English if the need arises.
Listen to spoken English by watching English movies or TV shows, listening to the news, announcements, sports commentaries and other programs on radio and paying attention to conversations around you. Soon, you will begin to understand English words and phrases in context and be able to apply them the next time a similar situation arises.
Enroll in an English class, either by hiring a private tutor or by joining a center that teaches English. The National Language Research Center, for example, offers an English self-study training kit, which includes study material, situational lessons, Powerpoint slides and access to customer support for students who have questions (see Resources).
List common phrases, sentences and words you come across or need to use and get them translated. You can ask someone fluent in both English and Tamil to do this for you or refer to a translation resource to do it yourself. Memorize these phrases or record them in written or audio form for ready reference.
Take every opportunity to use English. Converse in English. Write notes, shopping lists and messages in English. Read signs written in English, even if they're written in Tamil, too.
The more you use English, the sooner you will learn the language.
It takes years to master English grammar and spelling rules. Don't get discouraged if you have difficulty with English at first.
To cultivate a neutral accent, watch or listen to news in English broadcast by Indian channels.
Rupa Raman writes for ModernMom, Travels, RedEnvelope and other sites on intentional parenting, volunteering, travel, careers and holistic living and has published articles for the United Way. She has over six years of writing experience. She holds a master's degree in communication from MOP Vaishnav College, Chennai, India.