Oct. 24, 2007

South Asia Program teaches Sri Lankan languages Tamil and Sinhala

For the first time, Cornell students can study introductory Tamil, thanks to interactive videoconferencing with instructors at Syracuse University (likewise, Syracuse students can videoconference Cornell's introductory Bengali course). The course was developed by the Cornell South Asia Program, Department of Asian Studies and the Cornell Language Resource Center.

The South Asia Program also received a $128,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop and publish a curriculum for introductory colloquial Sinhala.

The three-year project, led by Anne M. Blackburn, Cornell associate professor of South Asian studies and Buddhist studies, and co-authored by Wasantha Liyanage, Cornell lecturer in Sinhala, will produce multimedia instructional curriculum materials and use a current language learning pedagogy. It will build on "Colloquial Sinhalese (Sinhala)," the only comprehensive textbook on Sinhala, which was written at Cornell in the mid-1960s.