Vasu Renganathan

Official Title: 

Originally from Tamil Nadu, India, Vasu is a native speaker of Tamil. He was educated in the Annamalai University, India and the University of Washington, Seattle. His research interests include the application of technology for language teaching and learning, historical linguistics, and medieval Tamil Bhakti literature.


  • Has been teaching Tamil at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996.
  • 1997 - 2002: Technology Coordinator, Penn Language Center
  • 1989 - 1994: Taught Tamil at the University of Washington, Seattle
  • 1994 - 1996: Taught Tamil at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Taught Tamil at Summer institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • M.A., Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Washington, 1992
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics, Annamalai University,India, 1988.
  • Diplomas in Computer Programming Languages, Washtanav Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Philadelphia Community College.
Research Interests: 
In April 2008, attended the Fourth Tamil Conference at the University of California, Berkeley to present the paper, “Tracing the Trajectory of Changes in Tamil: Mining the Corpus of Tamil Texts." Built an extensive search engine to search Tamil poetic works from Sangam period to modern period. This search page also features searching Tamil lexicon and other online dictionaries (http://www.thetamillanguage.com/sangam).
Selected Publications: 
  • “Rupa, Arupa and Rupa-Arupa: The Three forms of Siva Worship at the Nataraja temple of Chidambaram, South India and their impact on the temple architecture”, Felicitation volume of Prof. S.V. Shanmugam, Department of Linguistics, Annamalai University, India. August, 2008.
  • (Co-editor) An English Dictionary of the Tamil Verb (Electronic dictionary). Language Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania, 2008. (with audio and browsing software). (http://www.ldc.upenn.edu/Catalog/CatalogEntry.jsp?catalogId=LDC2008L01)
  • Chief Editor, Tamil language Learning Website: http://www.southasia.upenn.edu/tamil.
  • “Formalizing the knowledge of Heritage Language Learners: A technology based approach”, South Asia Language Pedagogy and Techology (SALPT), vol. 1, 2008.  (http://salpat.uchicago.edu/index.php/salpat/article/view/30).
  • "Tamil Script Reform and Script Rendering approach in Unicode", Principal author of the paper published in "Working Papers on Indic Scripts: Past and the Present", International Center for Indic and African Languages, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, December 2003.
Courses Taught: 
  • TAML 406-680 Beginning Tamil
  • TAML 426-680 Intermediate Tamil
  • TAML 446-680 Advanced Tamil
Other Affiliations: