Instruction at the U. of Washington will be discontinued at the end of Academic year 1995-6.

For LCTL's like Tamil, much of the available material falls into the category of ephemera, having been produced by government grant, cyclostyled, mimeographed, or whatever over the years, then in some cases published in India, sometimes by independent publishers, but usually under subsidy from some university of institute: even then many of the materials are now out of print or otherwise unobtainable.

The good news is that new materials are now being worked on by E. Annamalai and R.E. Asher, two very distinguished authors and scholars of Tamil, to be published by Routledge.

Those of us who have taught Tamil in this country during the last few decades know each other well, and the idea to collaborate in this area actually arose when we were all conferring on Tamil Oral Proficiency Guidelines during the late 1980's.

A fourth site, U. Washington, is no longer in the picture, but the materials produced there (by the author of this proposal) can be incorporated into this project with no problem.

One should also not ignore U. Michigan, where Tamil is taught under an arrangement involving temporary funding; the plan is to hire the person currently teaching Tamil there to do the actual construction of the html files, since he has the necessary expertise, and wishes to be involved in this project. And late word has just been received from Prof. George Hart at Berkeley, supporting warmly the idea of this teaching-materials website.

Materials produced by publishers in India tend sometimes toward the ephemeral scale of things, even when they are `in print'. Other things, such as Pope's 1904 Handbook or his 1906 Grammar, though reprinted in the 1980's, are not regularly used by anyone I know.

There are only two stories in this selection that I would use if I had another adequate source.

These materials will probably eventually be superseded by a work in progress---E. Annamalai and R.E. Asher are working on the production of some new materials for spoken Tamil, to be published by Routledge, but these will not be available for some time, and when they are, will of course be readily available for purchase.

The Heidelberg South Asia group established the on-line dictionary using what they assumed were public-domain materials, but the publisher of the Cre-A Tamil Dictionary has brought a suit in the Madras High Court against their inclusion of his material without obtaining intellectual property rights, so the Heidelberg on-line dictionary is now of somewhat questionable integrity and value.

A printout of various offerings that appear if one requests `Tamil' from Altavista, e.g., is not included here, only the pages of Dr. Kalyanasundaram, whose pages are the most intellectually serious; see Appendix B.

Naa. Govindasamy, a Singapore writer, is a Lecturer at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

For example, my source code for Tamil in the WNTamil font developed by Thomas Ridgeway using METAFONT and TEX is lower ascii (enclosed between tildes) plus numerals; other systems use upper-ascii for the Tamil, but not all systems use the same codes in upper-ascii.

See appendix for an example of how this appears as printed from screen display.

Most of the consultation, in terms of preparation of this proposal, that I have done with Cutler, Hart and Gair has been via email; I have also consulted with Vasu and V.S. Rajam, who now works for Netscape. And Naa. Govindasamy, the author of the Singapore fonts, has also been helpful via both email and by netscape.

Tamil is not taught to non-native speakers anywhere else in a systematic way.

It would actually be more useful to convene the interested parties somewhere for a mini-conference, but the cost of this would probably be too high. There is unfortunately no regular forum where we all meet on a regular basis.

These would thus be classified by some as `dirty' materials, as opposed to the `clean' materials that leave no grammatical explanation unturned.

Harold Schiffman
Mon Apr 1 09:56:50 EST 1996