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Principal Investigator

The P.I. for this project is Harold F. Schiffman, Henry R. Luce Professor of Language Learning, South Asian Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania. I have taught Tamil at the U. of Washington (for 28 years) and am now Academic Director of the Penn Language Center, at Penn. Because of the extreme diglossic situation in Tamil, and the difficulty of teaching essentially two different forms of the language simultaneously, my special interest as a language teacher has always been the necessity of focussing on the teaching of Spoken Tamil, and have devoted some part of my career to the production of materials for teaching Spoken Tamil (Schiffman 1971, 1974) and especially reference materials (Schiffman 1979) to support Spoken Tamil rather than literary Tamil. Others in this country, indeed most teachers of Tamil anywhere, have concentrated on teaching literary Tamil, but my own experience has been that if Spoken Tamil is not taught to students before they go to India, they will almost never learn it when they get there, because the cultural pressure is always in favor of LT and never in favor of ST.

See Appendix B for Curriculum Vitae. See also my homepage at haroldfs.

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