One Language, Many Imaginings

Sumathi Ramaswamy

in Passions of the Tongue

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780520208049
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520918795 | DOI:
One Language, Many Imaginings

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This narrative of the golden past of Tamil, its degenerate present, and its utopian reign in the future provides the driving imperative for Tamil devotional practice, which draws its strength from the desire to restore Tamil and Tamilttāy's lost honor and pride. This imperative manifests itself in the repeated plea that Tamil speakers should wake up from their centuries of “sleep” and, filled with a new consciousness, bring about the “improvement” of Tamil. This chapter examines multiple and often countervailing conceptions that prevailed about the language among its devotees.

Keywords: Tamil; language; Tamilttāy; devotional practice

Chapter.  23193 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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