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Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies | Shared Course Initiative

Language Contact and Email Address:

Shiv Subramaniam


Tamil is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, as well as an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore. In addition to being spoken by almost 80 million people worldwide, Tamil also has an impressive classical past, having served as a language of religious, intellectual, and literary life in South India for nearly two millennia.

Tamil is offered at both elementary and intermediate levels through the Shared Course Initiative. Assuming no prior experience with the language, the Elementary Tamil sequence provides students with the grammar, language skills, and cultural context necessary to start achieving their individual language goals, whether they be conducting fieldwork or scholarly research, chatting with relatives back home, or simply waxing poetic over an artful dosai. The Intermediate Tamil sequence builds on what is covered in the first year, refining students’ complex speaking skills and introducing them to modern literature.

Taking Tamil will allow you to fulfill the language requirement at Columbia.

Please check the Columbia Directory of Classes for up-to-date information on class times and locations. Search under the subject of “Middle East.”