A piece by Vijay Nambisan in the India Foundation for the Arts’ magazine made some interesting points about written and spoken languages in South India:
“… Malayalam is a highly diglossal language, much more so than any of its northern sisters. The farther south you go in India, I think, the further apart grow the written and spoken languages…. I can barely comprehend the newspapers, and most literary texts are closed books to me.” (32)
I feel his pain — as a near fluent speaker of one variety of Tamil (spoken in one place among one caste), it is a source of constant frustration to me that I have to concentrate to understand the news on Tamil Doordarshan or political speeches.