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A Korean Tamil Book entitled “Basic Tamil Conversation” published in Seoul

– By Dr. Subramaniyan Ramasundaram

World Classical Tamil Conference 2010 held at Coimbatore, Tamilnadu (TN), India, brought the similarities between words in Tamil and Korean languages to limelight and attracted the attention of larger public. Earlier, the Tamil – Korean linguistic and cultural connections were discussed mainly among Tamil enthusiasts and scholars. Under the banner of Tamil Heritage Foundation – India and Korea, for quite long time Dr. Narayanan Kannan, and Prof. Balasubramaniyan (Orissa Balu) have been providing scholarly attention to this topic. Both have been instrumental in publishing related article in frontline Indian newspapers and social media platforms.


Photo: Cover pages of the newly released book, “Basic Tamil Conversation”  (타밀어 기초회화 – அடிப்படை பேச்சுத்தமிழ்).


Now, the book entitled “Basic Tamil Conversation”  (타밀어 기초회화 – அடிப்படை பேச்சுத்தமிழ்) has been published this week in Seoul and will be available in market soon, Prof. Suresh Kumar Manthiriyappan (பேராசிரியர் சுரேஷ் குமார் மந்திரியப்பன்), one of the author told us. Prof. Suresh, working in University of Suwon, Suwon, Korea, shared the authorship with Mr. Yang Ki Moon (양 기 문), the linguistics researcher interested in Tamil, associated with Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), Seoul. Prof. Suresh contributed for Tamil (தமிழ் மொழி) part while Mr. Moon contributed to describe the matters in Korean (한국어).


Photo: Earlier Tamil Book by Mr. Moon (Left): 5000+ Korean-tamil Tamil-korean Vocabulary book by Gilad Soffer (Right)


It is very important to mention that in 2014, Mr. Moon published the first detailed Korean book on Tamil language, entitled”타밀여 입문” (Introduction to Tamil Language). Dr. Haribalan, from TN, postdoctoral researcher at Soul National University, Seoul, Korea, helped Mr. Moon while writing his first book about Tamil language.   In 2015, the book “5000+ Korean-tamil Tamil-korean Vocabulary” authors by Gilad Soffer was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform


Photos of authors: Prof. Suresh (Left), and Mr. Yang Ki Moon (Right)


When we approached to receive author’s perspective on this book, Prof. Suresh started with Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart”.

This book will be very useful for the Korean readership to learn Tamil via Korean. Korean people visiting India as tourists and to work in Korean industries located around Chennai, TN, India. Reportedly, Chennai shares the largest Korean population living in India and by virtue of this reason South Korea Established it consulate in Chennai. Korean people are the one of the largest expatriate communities in Chennai with the population estimated over 4,000. According to Korean Consulate in Chennai, at 21st century, TN has evolved as one of the electronic and car manufacturing hubs of Korea. It is very important to emphasize that in 30 kilometer radius of Chennai more than 200 Korean companies have been established. In the roads of Chennai, two out of 10 cars are Korean brands. Similarly, 100s of Tamil students and professionals are visiting Korea every year to study in universities and work in industries in Korea. This book also useful for Tamils to learn Korean via Tamil, Prof. Suresh explained us.

Both Tamil and Korean communities are known for learning other languages via words. Tamil people use many English words, irrespective of their academic qualifications, for example, time, sorry, thanks, late, trouser, shirt and many more. Likewise Korean people use words such as computer, escalator, and elevator. Therefore, this book will be very useful for Koreans to learn Tamil and Tamils to learn Korean. Practicing this book will certainly increase their language skills.

Since Tamil is an international language, this book will be very useful for Korean people visiting various countries. Tamil is one of the national language of Singapore and Sri Lanka. Tamil is one of the languages of education in Malaysia. In the countries like Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, and South Africa Tamil is used and having a cultural impact. Considerable amount Tamil diaspora is living in other parts of Africa, Europe, North America and Canada.

In India, Tamil is an official language of TN state and union territories, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Tamils are living other important cities in India, including the capital New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Also there are demands to make Tamil as a one of the official languages of India and United Nations.

Tamil  is a mother of Dravidian languages such as Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. So that learning Tamil can help Korean people to grasp other languages of Indian sub-continent.

About author: Dr. SubramaniyanRamasundaram is a native of Chokkampatti, Virudhunagar District, Tamilnadu, India. Currently, he is working as a visiting scientist at Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korea

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