Pillai Thamizh from the Tamil word “pillaithamizh”, (பிள்ளைத்தமிழ்) meaning Child’s Tamil is a CNL (Controlled Natural Language), a type of conlang (Constructed Language) where the new language is based on an existing language (posteriori language), in this case Tamil.
One of the greatest barriers to learning Tamil is the presence of multiple dialect like variants. Proper written Tamil is the one that unites all the dialects, as anyone who has learnt Tamil systematically in school, can understand Tamil that is spoken in any part of the world. This presents a problem when teaching spoken Tamil to new learners. Which dialect do you teach them? And since all dialects are considered as unpolished forms, new learners are taught chaste written Tamil and encouraged to use them in day to day life. The result is new learners speak a chaste Tamil language with Tamilians who don’t speak chaste Tamil.
But how do Tamilians themselves learn Tamil? Typically Tamilians learn their language in stages – In the first infant stage they learn a few basic words and grammar rules and they build their vocabulary and grammar from there. As they grow up, they pick up colloquial spoken Tamil and finally in school, they learn the letters and proper chaste Tamil.
But what happens when Tamilians teach others Tamil? Straightaway the learner is introduced to the Tamil letters and from there to chaste Tamil. After a learner has learnt Tamil sufficiently, they pick up colloquial Tamil slowly by interacting with Tamils. So the end result? Non Tamilians who learn colloquial Tamil are the ones who wow Tamilians. I felt this was crazy. Shouldn’t the ones who learn and speak chaste Tamil be applauded? Shouldn’t talking colloquial Tamil be normal? Are we not making it difficult for others to learn Tamil by introducing complex rules too early? This is one of the reasons why Pillai Thamizh was created.
The object of Pillai Thamizh is to help someone trying to learn spoken Tamil to learn the language within very few days and converse with native speakers of Tamil as if they had learn Tamil for quite some time. This is accomplished by eliminating multiple words for expressing similar ideas and presenting a very basic set of words and rules for the learner to memorize. If the learner wishes to learn proper chaste Tamil this is not the place to do so. This site will hopefully be useful to someone who wants to impress Tamils with their spoken Tamil. Tamilians are usually delighted to hear someone speak even very basic error prone Tamil and will gladly correct them to speak better Tamil.
For the purpose of learning the alphabets quickly, the alphabets are taken from the Menthamizh alphabet set (www.mtamil.com) and not the Tamil abugida, partly because it will be easier to learn the 32 symbols of the Menthamizh script as compared to the almost 43 symbols which are used in different ways to denote different sounds and also partly because Pillai Thamizh is a conlang which is also part of the Tharangai Project (www.tharangai.com) which created the Menthamizh script.
Since Menthamizh script is closely related to the Tamil script, it is possible for the learner to learn proper Tamil later on, based on the knowledge of Menthamizh. Also since Pillai Thamizh is a very basic set of Tamil words and grammar rules, the learner can learn proper Tamil directly by interacting with Tamilians or by adding to existing grammar and vocabulary with a Pillai Thamizh 2.0 called Pechu Thamizh or Spoken Tamil. Thus despite being a new conlang, Pillai Thamizh can help you to converse with millions of Tamil speakers all over the world.
This version of Pillai Tamil is 1.0.0. I am Edison, an amateur linguist and computer programmer and the Tharangai Project is my leisure pursuit.