Coimbatore: Efforts must be made to teach and
learn Tamil on videoconferencing to enable the “sweet sound of
Tamil” being heard and spoken around the world, a US expert
"Tamil Nadu has been a world leader in bringing tribal, folk
and classical performing arts into the realm of cinema. Now
these arts’ along with the teaching and learning of Tamil
language itself, should be brought to the realm of
videoconferencing to further enable the sweet sound of Tamil
to be heard and spoken around the globe," said Dr Eric
Miller, a native of US.
Eric Miller, here to present a paper on this subject at
the ongoing World Classical Tamil Conference, is working as
Assistant Professor of Story and Storytelling at a private
animation institute in Chennai.
Miller, also the Director of World Storytelling Institute
based in Chennai, said the video conference language practice
sessions could be coordinated with the Tamil learning material
on the web pages. On-line tutors have to be recruited and
trained for this purpose.
"This would involve a lot of work. It could be done as a
business, an NGO and as an educational project, possibly
subsidized by the government. In any case, it should be done
as a way of preserving, developing and globalising the Tamil
language," Miller said.
A scholar in folklore, Miller was attracted to Tamil Nadu
after he came across the Tamil epic Silappathigaram where the
protagonist Kannaki destroys Madurai city after being denied
justice for her husband’s death.
But Miller is equally impressed by the just Pandya king, who
loses his life after discovering that he had delivered a wrong
sentence to Kannaki’s husband, Kovalan.
Part of a team that has created a documentary on Kannaki
and the local legends surrounding her in Madurai, Miller feels
it is high time Tamil took to the technical route to go global.
"The early pervasiveness of the English language on the
internet is fading. Other languages are now also entering
cyberspace, especially as the audio and video options are
becoming more available and convenient."
His research recommends three techniques via video
conferencing, Question and Answer routines, Repetition with
Variation and the Simultaneous Saying and Physical Enacting of
He said Tamil Nadu should take a "leadership role" in
developing ways for many aspects of its culture to be shared
via video-conferencing. This could be done in part in
coordination with the state crafts organization, Poompuhar, or
the annual folk arts festival in `Chennai Sangamam.`
Miller, however, made it clear that there was no substitute
for "physically present communication."