This book was conceived during a visit to Sri Lanka where we travelled to many of
the Tamil areas in the North and East. Not having used Tamil for many years I found
myself struggling to remember the words for everyday things.
A trawl through the bookshops in Sri Lanka only turned up school books or Dictionaries
and nothing that was of much help to us. On our return to the UK a detailed on-line
search revealed quite a few books but none that we thought was suitable for what
we were looking for.
More than a million Sri Lankan Tamils now live abroad having left the country during
the civil war. Many are fluent in the language of their host country be that English,
German, French or Italian. Their children, who might speak Tamil at home, would rarely
use it outside of the house. There will come a time when many in the Diaspora would
want to visit Sri Lanka and knowledge of Tamil would help then enormously.
There are also a large number of western travellers, businessmen and NGO staff that
spend time in both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu who would find this book useful in getting
This book is aimed at both these groups of people. It is divided up into small sections
that can easily be found. The English word is followed by the Tamil one and a pronunciation
guide. The use of the Tamil script is important to help readers learn the different
letters and recognise them in road and shop signs.
Many books of this type use the IPA pronunciation which can be confusing for someone
coming across it for the first time. We have opted to use our own pronunciation guide
which we feel is much more intuitive and easily learned.
This book is available in print from many on-line bookstores throughout the world