A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Where I struggle to learn

Posted by Pepper on November 19, 2009

I knew I needed to work on learning the language, but I think I always took advantage of the endless Tamil-Telugu conflict going on at their end. I mean I know I have to start at some point, but what can I do until they decide? Bah, these people never stop arguing about which language I should be learning. ‘Telugu!’, say his parents. Its the mother tongue. So what if its adulterated and not the original version of the language. No, learn Tamil, says Mint. Only that will be of use to you. Since most people in his family speak Tamil anyway. Not Telugu.

And so I just let go. Until I realised I was taking advantage of the situation and not learning either of the languages. The issue from their end is never going to be resolved. That I know. Does that mean I never bother to learn? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I try and pick up the basics of the language at least? Wouldn’t it please his parents as well? Of course, which language it would be continued to be a mystery.

I decided it was high time I let go of the lethargy and start learning from the books I had purchased. I picked Tamil for two reasons. One, I didn’t see any point learning the pure Andhra Telugu that the book would teach me. They speak a dialect, or the adulterated version anyway. And two, my heart tilts towards Tamil. Because its Mint’s preferred choice. And honestly, I wanna learn the language to be able to talk to him, to share stuff with him; stuff that is lost in translation. Getting to that stage will take a very long time, but I need to begin somewhere. Right? With those thoughts, I picked up the book, and that marked the beginning of my struggle.

‘Learn Tamil in 30 days through English’ the title says. Within the first 4 days I had all plans of filing a law suit against the publication and the author. Yes, I was all willing to engage in legal proceedings to seek justice. How can they get away with such a deceiving title?

To learn a single word in the language, I had to first master the script. Learn the alphabets, the vowels (kuril and nedil). The consonants were another story all together. In the book, every word that is taught was written in the Tamil script. So I couldn’t read it unless I knew the script.

I decided to try learning the script by myself. Very daunting task, I say. At first glance, a cluster of wiggly circles and ill defined squares stared at me, making me feel almost dizzy. I picked up a book and tried copying the different patterns and teaching myself the sound. But it was an exercise in vain. I couldn’t manage to retain a single thing in my head and my book looked like it had drawings of different wiggly serpents coiling and spiralling in strange ways. My heart sank. I realised this was never going to work. I couldn’t for the life of me memorise those letters and their sounds.

After ten days or so, I gave up. Without any guilt, because I think I tried my best and it wasn’t working. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for a good teacher. I am looking for someone who will patiently sit with me regularly during an allotted time and teach me the basics from scratch.

Until then, I am thinking of other ways to learn the language.

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5 Responses to “Where I struggle to learn”

  1. now try learning mandarin! hahahaa

  2. Childwoman said

    I tried learning Tamil for S.. He taught me for a while..I had books with lessons written in them for some time. He wrote them. And last year I tore that book to pieces. Not because i was sad or angry.

    Only because, its time was done.

    🙂

    • Pepper said

      I think sometimes you just know the right time to do the right thing.. 🙂 I am glad you did that CW. Having that around would only make it harder for you to heal.

  3. snehasankar said

    Up for some Tamil classes? Willing tutor here =)

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