I am friends with a girl who speaks Tamil really poorly, by societal standards at least. She comes from a Telugu speaking family and has little to no exposure to Tamil at home. In the ten years that we have known each other, she has steadfastly reduced the amount of Tamil that she speaks to me or anyone else for that matter.

One day, while casually chatting with her, I found out that she stopped speaking Tamil because many people had chided her on various occasions for not speaking ‘good’ Tamil. In fact, some were insensitive and rude enough to tell her that if she could not speak the language ‘properly’, then she should not speak it at all. Sadly, she took their advise and has stopped speaking this language altogether.

In recent years, I have noticed an alarming rise in the number of Tamil purists. They turn up at…

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