|Native to||India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion, Mauritius|
|Native speakers||70 million (2007)
8 million as a second language
|Writing system||Tamil alphabet (Brahmic)
|Official language in||Indian states: Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,
Sri Lanka, and
tam – Modern Tamil
oty – Old Tamil
|Linguist List||oty Old Tamil|
Distribution of Tamil speakers around the World
Tamil is a language. It is spoken in the Tamil Nadu state of India, and in some parts of Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. It belongs to the Dravidian language family. It is a classical language, and one of world's oldest literary languages. The oldest text found in Tamil is Tolkāppiyam. Tamil is the one of the oldest living languages in the world, and is spoken by nearly 65 million people in the world. The script of the language is very primitive, making it very hard to read.
It has also been said that most of the other Indian languages are basically derived from the letters of Tamil. In a few cases, the words themselves were used in other Indian languages for better understanding.
Tamil is the dominant language in Tamil Nadu, India, and Northern Province, Sri Lanka.
- Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
- Tamil language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
- "Official languages of Tamilnadu", Tamilnadu Government, http://www.tn.gov.in/welcometn.htm, retrieved 1 May 2007
- "Official languages", UNESCO, http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=22495&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html, retrieved 10 May 2007
- "Official languages of Srilanka", State department, US, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5249.htm, retrieved 1 May 2007
- "Official languages and national language", Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Government of Singapore), http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/DisplayContent.pl?DOCID=1999-REVED-CONST&VID=931158661-003601&WEF=latest&TYPE=simple&mode=and&version=currentVersion&query1=official%20language, retrieved 22 April 2008