Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 6 June 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Improving Chemmozhi Learning and Teaching -
Descriptive Studies in Classical-Modern Tamil Grammar

A. Boologa Rambai, Ph.D.

Importance of Descriptive Grammar in
Preserving and Enriching a Living Classical Language

Students and teachers view grammar more as a static list of rules that every one must follow. These static rules or "authoritarian" instructions are best studied, they seem to think, using established works of grammatical treatises. This approach to the teaching and learning of grammar is easily evident in learning every Indian language, including English.

While studying time-honored classical languages such as Sanskrit, Latin and Greek may greatly benefit from this approach to maintain their system of rules, studying a living-classical language such as Tamil requires a different approach. Older rules of grammar are needed to learn and interpret the early stages of such a living-classical language. But newly evolved and evolving rules of usage become indispensable to connect oneself to the best use of a living-classical language.

An important feature of a living-classical language is its continuity in its grammatical base, and this continuity must be understood, cherished and put to use, according to Thirumalai (personal communication). He also argues that while literary forms will be added in much greater variety, with each generation of creative writers adding new forms and dynamic literary nuances, addition to grammatical patterns are usually limited in any living-classical language such as Tamil. The basic reality of addition, deletion and transformation of rules of usage makes a living-classical language distinct from other varieties of classical languages.

This distinction must be recognized and exploited in any teaching program for Chemmozhi Tamil. While most of the rules of grammar noted in traditional grammars such as Tolkappiyam and Nannuul are relevant even today, the need to continuously update our knowledge and understanding of the grammatical operation of Tamil should be recognized.

We want our language Tamil to be alive and dynamic to meet our current and future needs. Lexical items are continuously added and these additions have brought in some variations in rules, especially in the areas of compounds, spelling and inflections. Verb inflections have undergone changes, and the need to develop bias-free style of writing that would eliminate caste-prone expressions, prejudicial gender expressions, etc., must be recognized and such trends in current speech and writing must be recognized and taught. Innovations in language use need to be encouraged to reflect the current state of art of modern living. Business and other office communications need to be developed fully.

All these require an understanding of the patterns of language use. This understanding comes from a descriptive study of current use even as such study relates to the continuity and other sociolinguistic goals.

I enjoy reading Tolkappiyam, Nannuul and other traditional grammatical treatises. We all see how grammar and sociolinguistic decisions are closely related to each other when we read these grammatical treatises. We also see how attempts were made later on to impose elements and patterns of use not native to Tamil. Some of the later grammatical works are simple reproductions and distractions of earlier grammatical works. These assumed a more prescriptive approach in presenting the patterns of grammar. This trend of prescriptivism is unfortunately well entrenched in our Tamil grammar classes.

The portions of "grammar" in our Tamil textbooks need to be based more on living language, not the earlier stages of Tamil. At the same time there should also be provisions to learn, master and even use classical variations for stylistic purposes.


Chapter 1 Importance of Descriptive Grammar in Preserving and Enriching Tamil as a Living-Classical Language

Chapter 2 Tolkaappiyam - Kaviraajamaarga A Brief Note of Comparison

3 Lexical Opposites in Tamil

Chapter 4 Relative Compounds in Tamil and Kannada

Chapter 5 Relative Compounds in Tamil and Kannada

Chapter 6 Agreement in Tamil and Telugu

Chapter 7 Auxiliary Verbs in Modern Tamil

Chapter 8 Noun Reduplication in Tamil

Chapter 9 Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Telugu

Chapter 10 Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Kannada

Chapter 11 Verb Reduplication in Tamil

Chapter 12 Verb Reduplication in Tamil and Telugu



This is only the beginning part of this monograph. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE BOOK IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Patterns of Indian Multilingualism | The Use of Catchy Words: A Case Study from Pakistan | Conquering Psychological Alienation - How Amy Tan Looks at It | I`gbo` Verbs of Communication | Honorifics and Speech Levels in Meiteiron | Social Functions of Metaphor - A Case Study Applying Tamil and Telugu Examples | Pragmatic Approaches and Models of Linguistic Politeness | Emerging Paradigms in Language Communication in India and Their Impact on the Corporate Competencies | Role of Encoding Temporal Fine Structure Cues in Time Compressed Word Recognition | Negotiating Boundaries: Arab-American Poetry and the Dilemmas of Dual Identity | The Role of Self-Directed Learning Strategy in Higher Education | Attitudes toward Women Expressed in the Speech of Male College Students | Teachers' Professional Development in ELT at Tertiary Level: ELTR Project of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan - A Case Study | The Changing Image of Women in Indian Writing in English - A Study of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things | The Administration of the East India Company: A History of Indian Progress: Native Education | Teaching English Language and Literature in Non-Native Context | Improving Chemmozhi Learning and Teaching - Descriptive Studies in Classical-Modern Tamil Grammar | Global Perspective of Teaching English Literature in Higher Education in Pakistan | Two Trends That Would Deface Classical-Modern Tamil - How to Reverse These Trends? | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JUNE 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of June 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

A. Boologarambai, Ph.D.
Department of Tamil Language and Translation Studies
Dravidian University
Kuppam - 517 425
Andhra Pradesh, India

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