|Native to||India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion, Mauritius, Burma|
|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
|Recognised minority language in|| Malaysia
tam – Modern Tamil
oty – Old Tamil
|Linguist List||oty Old Tamil|
Distribution of Tamil speakers around the World
Tamil is a Dravidian language. It is spoken in the Tamil Nadu state of India and in some parts of Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. It is in the southern branch of the Dravidian language family. It is a classical language. It is one of world's oldest literary languages. It has existed for at least 2,000 years. The oldest text found in Tamil is Tolkāppiyam. Tamil is the one of the oldest living languages in the world. It is spoken by almost 65 million people.
Tamil script[change | change source]
The script of the language is very old, making it hard to read. It has 12 consonants, 18 vowels, and the āytam ஃ, which is neither a consonant nor a vowel. The āytam can be used with other letters to represent sounds not in the Tamil script, such as 'f'. The consonants and vowels can mix to form compound letters. Altogether, there are 247 sounds/sets of sounds in the Tamil script. Tamil, like English, is written from left to right.
It has been said that most of the other Indian scripts 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 numbers have certainly shaped the numbers in other Dravidian language family.
References[change | change source]
- "Myanmar's Tamils seek to protect their identity". BBC. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-25438275. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
- 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
- // Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
- Stein, Burton (1977), "Circulation and the Historical Geography of Tamil Country", The Journal of Asian Studies 37 (1): 7–26, doi:10.2307/2053325, JSTOR 2053325
- Steever, Sanford B. "The Dravidian languages", First Published (1998), pp. 6–9. ISBN 0-415-10023-2
Other websites[change | change source]
|This language has its own Wikipedia project. See the Tamil language edition.|
|For a list of words relating to Tamil language, see the Tamil language category of words in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide about: Tamil|