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A preface to spoken Tamil

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Title: A preface to spoken Tamil
Authors: Boaitey, Nana Yaw O.
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for South Asian Studies
Citation: Boaitey, Nana Yaw O,"A preface to spoken Tamil." Paper presented at the Center for South Asian Studies 30th Annual Symposium, "Sensing South Asia," April 17-19, 2013.
Abstract: This paper is a contribution to an anthropology of aurality in Tamil Nadu. Using a sociolinguistic approach to performance, I shall argue that contemporary low caste performers in Tamil Nadu are part of a discursive tradition that dates back to Sangam times in order to show how this tradition, the dialogue between the art of writing and the practice of speech, is actually a feeling in Tamil that affects the concept of locality in Tamil. This feeling, or spoken Tamil, is a kind of aural competence. In performance, it is a way of speaking with writing in mind. In writing, it is that sentiment which demonstrates a kind of ethnographic authority. Sangam literature, bhakti devotion, Tamil nationalism--indeed, the practice of spoken Tamil has been, and continues to be, a mode of organizing people in light of the state. Then and now, spoken Tamil has never been about how people really speak. Rather, it has always been a way of producing citizens by manufacturing aural competence.
Rights: Boaitey, Nana Yaw O
Appears in Collections:2013 South Asia Spring Symposium Presentations

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