Vannakum to my first day in Tamil!
I spent a lot of time reading about the culture and relationships of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan Tamil communities. The answer... it's complicated, probably more so than I can get a handle on through a bit of googling. I found this article on Tamil community relations in India and Sri Lanka and this article on Chinese and Indian influence in northern Sri Lanka very interesting.
My other task this morning was (importantly) figuring out what Tamil foods I could try locally. Mutton rolls look promising.
I then remembered about the language and did the first chapter of Routledge Colloquial Tamil. I can see why these books don't get the best reviews, you have to be pretty intrepid to pick up all the words that get thrown at you later. The word for sugar cane juice comes up in a random dialogue once and you're meant to remember it forever. Right.
This chapter taught how to introduce ourselves, pronouns, suffixes and the future conjugation for some useful verbs like eat and drink. Interesting the future tense is used to describe habitual actions. Third person pronouns and conjugations are used to be polite, so that all feels familiar although learning new endings literally sends me to sleep - I actually had to have a couple of naps during this chapter.
Written language is being introduced very gradually and in a way that's more focused on recognising words on signs than writing, so it looks like I might be illiterate in Tamil by the end of the month! Recognising the spoken verb conjugations and working out what they are is pretty hard. But oh well, it's day one....
The challenge of retaining this information and adding to it is on!