List of countries where Tamil is an official language

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The following is a list of sovereign states and territories where Tamil is an official or language of government.

The Tamil language is one of the oldest living languages of the earth and which gives birth to the new languages such as Kannada and Malayalam in 15th Century and it is the first language to be declare as the classical language of India. Tamil was one of the dominant language of trade during the pre-colonial era by people like Ainnurruvar and such as Tamil inscriptions and coins found on many parts of Asia and Africa such as on China, Cambodia, Egypt and Indonesia. [1]

During 18th Century, the British and French rules brought the Tamils to the many parts of Asia and Africa which makes many countries with significant Tamil speakers and cultural impact such as there are more than 2,100,000 speakers of Tamil language in the Malaysia itself.

Sovereign states[change | change source]

Countries where Tamil is a de jure/official language.
Country Region Population1 Status
Singapore Singapore[2] Asia 188,591[3] Sovereign State
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka[4] Asia 5,007,003[5] Sovereign State

Dependent entities where Tamil is an official language[change | change source]

Nr. Entity Continent Population Status
1 India Andaman and Nicobar Islands Asia 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".379,944 Union Territory of India
2 India Pondicherry Asia 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".1,244,464 Union Territory of India
3 India Tamil Nadu Asia 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".72,138,958 State of India

Recognized as minority language[change | change source]

Country Population Notes
South Africa South Africa 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".250,000 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions states "A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must promote and ensure respect for Tamil" along with other minority languages.[6]
Malaysia Malaysia 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".1,800,000 Malaysian government recognize Tamil as a minority language along with Chinese. The "national-type" school's medium of instruction is either in Tamil or Chinese.[7]
Mauritius Mauritius 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".72,089 Tamils are the first immigrants to Mauritius who were brought by French. Later British brought Tamils to fight with French and as a recognition, Tamil is being used on the currency of Mauritius.[8]

Partially recognized and unrecognized territories[change | change source]

Entity Notes
Tamil Eelam (Eelam) Claiming sovereignty over the North and Eastern Sri Lanka and Puttalam district as[9][10]
India Karaikal Claiming for a separate union territory in India.[11]

Former territories where Tamil was an official language[change | change source]

Entity Notes
India Haryana Tamil was an official language of the Indian state of Haryana until it was replaced by the Punjabi.
India Chandigarh Tamil was an official language of the Indian Union Territory of Chandigarh until it was replaced by the Punjabi.

Countries where Tamil is used and has cultural impact but not official[change | change source]

Country Region
France Réunion [12] Africa
 Seychelles [13] Africa

There are also claims for to make Tamil as official language of India and UN.[14]

References[change | change source]

  1. [archaeologyindia.com "Tamil Inscriptions"]. archaeologyindia. archaeologyindia.com. "Tamil Inscriptions of Egypt and Thailand"
  2. Wong, Aline (2000-11-24). "Education in a Multicultural Setting - The Singapore Experience". Ministry of Education, Government of Singapore. http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/speeches/2000/sp24112000_print.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-18. "There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil."
  3. "Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Republic of Singapore". Census of population 2010. Department of statistics Singapore. http://www.singstat.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/publications/publications_and_papers/cop2010/census_2010_release1/cop2010sr1.pdf.
  4. "Language Dept Sri Lanka". http://www.languagesdept.gov.lk/. "Tamil and Sinhala official language of Sri Lanka"
  5. "Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka, 2012". Census of Population and Housing of Sri Lanka, 2012. Department of Census and Statistics-Sri Lanka. http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/Pages/Activities/Reports/FinalReport/Population/Table%20A3.pdf.
  6. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions - South African Government
  7. National Identity and Minority Languages
  8. A Brief History of the Tamils of Mauritius
  9. http://www.tibetsun.com/news/2013/07/31/india-creates-new-state-demand-for-smaller-states-rise
  10. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-may-have-50-states-if-all-demands-for-new-states-are-met/articleshow/21599282.cms
  11. http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/14/stories/2005091404810300.htm
  12. "Reunion Culture". http://www.reunionisland.fr/culture.html.
  13. "Seychelles National Culture". http://www.nation.sc/index.php?art=8258.
  14. "Make Tamil as Official Language". http://m.indianexpress.com/news/%22-make-tamil-an-official-language-%22/949043/.


Other websites[change | change source]