Week 3 with Tamil

வணக்கம்!  Hello!

This is my third weekend of Tamil and according the random of rules of this project, it should be the penultimate. Next week should see me starting Polish...

So, how is life with Tamil? Well, as per, work has been very busy, so I'm not exactly making the tearing fast progress that you might expect. BUT, I have now had two lessons from Italki with two different teachers from Tamil Nadu in India. The first sent me some really helpful phrase lists with romanised and Tamil script, but then made me read them out over and over for an hour, which wasn't very productive. The second, who I had a lesson with at 8am this morning used a powerpoint with phrases BUT also had be go through the sounds of the key vowels and consonants several times and did fun things that got me thinking, like asking me to come up with questions around the key question words, even though she hadn't taught me any verbs yet! I also managed to remember to record the lesson, which will make a huge difference - pronunciation is tricky. But I've already listened to to the recording once and I can feel myself getting into parrot mode and getting a bit more of a grasp on things, in a way that three weeks with Colloquial Tamil just hasn't done.

I am also now the proud owner of a Tamil - English dictionary from Collins, which was made for English learners and so isn't ideal for me, but I love performative spending on language learning. There aren't many other accessories to buy, unless I splash out on some books and items made for diaspora kids.

In terms of culture, I have been eating a watching some things... last week I ordered kotthu roti, pol roti with coconut sambar and mutton rolls from a local hipster Sri Lankan street food place. It was delicious, and shortly afterwards my copy of Sri Lanka the cook book arrived, so now I can theoretically make some of the tasty things we ate. I am still on a major Indian cook book buying jag, and just got a Meera Sodha one. Although she is Gujarati, she seems to have quite a few Sri Lankan recipes. One (not Sri Lankan) one I tried today was dosa made with besan / chickpea flour, to go with some lime dhal I had made. The Dosa were do badly made - thick like flat Yorkshire Puddings - so I think there future is being cut up for kotthu roti! I need to learn more about food in Tamil Nadu. So far I am relying on a Madhur Jaffrey Flavours of India eprisode on Iplayer and a copy of the accompanying book which I managed to find on Amazon marketplace.

There are plenty of Tamil films on Amazon and Netflix, but as I don't understand them, I have sidestepped them so far in favour of general films on Indian culture - A Suitable Girl, Indian Matchmaker -which I am finding very interesting. I also saw part of Bollywood film Chennai Express, but literally had to turn it off because I found the depictions of people from Southern India pretttty mind blowing. Maybe I should go back and watch it in order to understand things better.

So far, things challenge has me super-interested in Tamil and Indian languages but pretty lukewarm about switching to Polish. Though I am sure I will fall in love with it as soon as I get to use the amazing Vittles Guide to the Polski Sklep.

Things I still want and need to do during Tamil time:
-Chat with the lovely people who are excited I am learning Tamil
-Read my book 'The Biography of Tamil'
-Order from amazing local Sri Lankan restaurant Sambar Express and try idli
-Finish ore of Colloquial Tamil

In other news, I am still taking two classes of Spanish a week and feeling more and more frustrated by my crappy pronunciation and grammar. Earlier, inspired by Tamil class, I started shadowing a Mexican youtube video on fitness. I can't decide if this will help more than doing exercises in my sentence builder book. Who knows. I am just sick of not being able to join the Instagram group chat each week because I'm not used to second person plural conjugations. I joined the 30 day speaking challenge again in August and have only barley managed to do weekends so far, but I am keeping it casual and doing speeches pretty much off the cuff. Which reminds me, I have to do one on weight loss tonight...




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