Use and Impact of Spoken Tamil in the Early Tamil Classrooms
Despite governmental and community efforts to support Tamil maintenance in Singapore, census and school data show a decrease in the number of Indian families using Tamil as the predominant home language. While this is true of Singapore’s other mother tongues as well, diglossia compounds the declining use of Tamil in Singapore. In addition to a formal, written form, Tamil has more than one oral form. Currently teachers are encouraged to teach Standard Spoken Tamil as the educated, oral variety. This article explores those efforts through an analysis of language use in classrooms.
This paper refers to data from the research project “Curriculum Implementation in Early Primary Schooling in Singapore” (CIEPSS OER47/08MS), funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The views expressed in this paper are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of NIE. The author also thanks Prof Harold F. Schiffman, University of Pennsylvania, and Prof E. Annamalai, University of Chicago, for their continued guidance and support.
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