The relevance of grammar, and the need for it, continues to be poorly understood. For instance, nobody needs to have a conscious understanding of grammar in order to use his or her own mother tongue. There is also the widespread contemporary belief that Tamil grammar is required only for the archaic ways of poets who are stuck in a so-called glorious past. This is in marked contrast to western conceptions of grammar, which focus more on current usage.
Given the dynamic nature of language, grammar continues to function in literature, as well as in everyday language use: whether or not we recognize it, the fact is that we cannot utter anything, nor understand anyone else’s utterance, without relying on a grammatical framework. It is, therefore, imperative that we address the roles and perceptions associated with grammar in the contemporary Tamil world, in order to provide us with certain basic issues for further exploration.
The teaching of grammar in school as one component – a mere token adjunct - in language teaching is primarily oriented towards examinations. The content of the school grammar curriculum testifies to this reality, not to mention the widespread, spontaneous hatred that it manages to provoke among most students. Higher education is no different. While it is true that students who choose language as a major subject in their undergraduate studies get some opportunity to learn and engage with grammar, it is very rare that anyone decides to pursue research in grammar.
Organisers Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry & Central Institute of Classical Tamil, Chennai
Coordinators Kannan M. IFP (firstname.lastname@example.org) A. Senthilnarayanan IFP (senthilnarayanan.a@ ifpindia.org)
Venue French Institute of Pondicherry, 11, St. Louis Street, Pondicherry – 605 001.