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Ideas for Tamil Instruction for a Child, San Francisco Bay Area

gautam3

New member
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here at Tam Brams. If this is being posted in an incorrect location, I hope a moderator can move it.

My partner and I had a son September 2021 (he just turned 7 months old), and I am a first gen American whose command of Tamil is spotty, and while I can read and write through my own struggles, I am not fluent enough to feel comfortable that my son will learn Tamil - and if he does, it may not be even decent Tamil. My partner does not speak Tamil and therefore cannot be much of a help as she was born and raised in America as well. My amma, who speaks Tamil, lives in San Diego and does communicate with my son in Tamil but it's not going to be a day to day affair for our son.

We are based in Berkeley, California which is NOT that close to the center of Indian life in the Bay Area (which I believe is Fremont/Milpitas/San Jose/San Ramon/Silicon Valley). I mention that because there may be a way to use Nextdoor or something to get in touch with other Tamilians if were were down there. I understand that there is a California Tamil Academy but that isn't really until the child is much older, if not already in traditional school. I'm looking for an interim solution for these critical early years before he can join CTA classes or fit into a Zoom regime with an instructor anywhere in the world. I have no clue what to do. We are not doing day care (we both work at home/run our own businesses), and if there was a Tamil day care, that could be a great option, but I have yet to find one on Google or Sulekha.

I wanted to know what suggestions you all had for me. I'm open to any ideas and budget isn't largely a concern. I would rather start earlier than later for this. Thanks in advance, and if any of you are in the Bay Area I would love to meet you in person once the COVID madness ends.
 
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gautam3

New member
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here at Tam Brams. If this is being posted in an incorrect location, I hope a moderator can move it.

My partner and I had a son September 2021 (he just turned 7 months old), and I am a first gen American whose command of Tamil is spotty, and while I can read and write through my own struggles, I am not fluent enough to feel comfortable that my son will learn Tamil - and if he does, it may not be even decent Tamil. My partner does not speak Tamil and therefore cannot be much of a help as she was born and raised in America as well. My amma, who speaks Tamil, lives in San Diego and does communicate with my son in Tamil but it's not going to be a day to day affair for our son.

We are based in Berkeley, California which is NOT that close to the center of Indian life in the Bay Area (which I believe is Fremont/Milpitas/San Jose/San Ramon/Silicon Valley). I mention that because there may be a way to use Nextdoor or something to get in touch with other Tamilians if were were down there. I understand that there is a California Tamil Academy but that isn't really until the child is much older, if not already in traditional school. I'm looking for an interim solution for these critical early years before he can join CTA classes or fit into a Zoom regime with an instructor anywhere in the world. I have no clue what to do. We are not doing day care (we both work at home/run our own businesses), and if there was a Tamil day care, that could be a great option, but I have yet to find one on Google or Sulekha.

I wanted to know what suggestions you all had for me. I'm open to any ideas and budget isn't largely a concern. I would rather start earlier than later for this. Thanks in advance, and if any of you are in the Bay Area I would love to meet you in person once the COVID madness ends.
Any ideas?
 

a-TB

Well-known member
in my opinion, no one can learn conversational Tamil unless it is spoken at home or daycare. Your son is only 7 months old and you have lots of time because it will be a year before he is going to speak anything reasonable.

Chinmaya Mission has active weekend classes in the San Jose area and I am sure in other areas, But your son is too young for those classes. Most temples have language classes.

Why do you want your son to learn Tamil when you have not learnt it well enough to speak? Why put that kind of an expectation on the child.

He needs a nuclear family first. That means you may first think of marrying your partner if she is agreeable. It is hard to instill a language expectation or any value on a child that you and your partner dont practice, I am not trying to be harsh, just sharing the truth.

You could consider relocating to India/ Tamil Nadu for few years and do your home based business from there. Your son will learn Tamil since you can find the right environment for him there

All the best
 

mskmoorthy

Well-known member
One thing to try out is to expose the child to Tamil music - like Thevaram, thiruppugazh, thiruppavai and thiruvempavai, Kanda shashti Kavacm and some Bhajans. Plenty of youtube links are available. Let the child listen to the songs and he/she will absorb the words. See if this link
sounds good. Please see this sample video in Tamil instruction
- Learning by osmosis may be the best things.
 
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