• Tamil has a distinction between Colloquial Tamil and Formal Tamil. While this distinction can be found in other languages like Chinese and Malay, Formal Tamil was defined by the Nannuul, written in the 13th Century.

Resources for learning Tamil

A summary of some resources are on: https://www.alllanguageresources.com/tamil/

There’s a learning Tamil subreddit that opened up in June 2021!


Resources for reading Tamilian script

  • This one’s technically a website. It’s an online course by E. Annamalai. While it’s geared towards teachers, the ‘elementary texts’ and ‘basic Tamil reader’ are useful supplementary material and can help you with reading. Access the site here
  • Tamil Script: Learner’s Manual, a website teaching Tamil script based on a Tamil teacher’s experience teaching Tamil in the University of Texas, Austin.
  • This playlist from The Tamil Channel focuses on reading. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an English translation, but it’s still useful.


There’s been a boom in Tamil Audiobooks from actors and actresses, but I’m still trying to find text to accompany the books (Update: See playlist of stories for kids below).


  • “Learn Tamil Through English”. This app comes with 500+ sentences of Tamil and English. This app has a book version that’s around 2 or 3 dollars. It’s worth buying because it has English, Transliteration, and Script.
  • In the same vein, “Learn Tamil in 30 days” by Jegtheesh N. has Tamil and English sentences. This one has both english script for Tamil AND the Tamil script, so I’ll use it a little later.
  • When in doubt, look for bible translations. Tamil Bible has a parallel translation.


Centre for Singapore Tamil Culture, a non-profit organisation dedicated to sustaining, sharing, and studying Tamil culture and building bridges between cultures in Singapore.



These 3 songs below are National Day Songs of Singapore. You can find the lyrics on wikipedia. It makes for good listening practice!

  • Munnaeru Vaalibaa, official Tamil community song taught in Singapore, this one performed by the Singapore Symphony. The important bit is that there’s lyrics in English script with English translation in the description.
  • Singai Naadu, this Tamil Singapore National Day song comes with lyrics, transliteration, AND English translation (in the description)!
  • Engkal Singapore comes with a short burst of Tamil rapping!
  • Wirally Tamil, a channel that makes short films with conversations in Tamil. Some of them have English subtitles!
  • This subreddit post from the Learning Tamil subreddit (See above) has links to several videos.

Exam papers