Tamil language

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Tamil
தமிழ் Tamiḻ
Word Tamil.svg
Pronunciation[t̪ɐmɨɻ]; About this soundpronunciation 
Native toIndia
Sri Lanka
EthnicityTamil people
Native speakers
75 million (2011–2015)[1][2]
L2 speakers: 6 million[1]
Early forms
Tamil (Brahmic)
Tamil-Brahmi (historical)
Grantha (historical)
Vatteluttu (historical)
Pallava (historical)
Kolezhuthu (historical)
Arwi (Abjad)
Tamil Braille (Bharati)
Latin script (informal)
Signed Tamil
Official status
Official language in
 Sri Lanka
 Singapore
 India:
 ASEAN[5]
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1ta
ISO 639-2tam
ISO 639-3Either:
tam – Modern Tamil
oty – Old Tamil
oty Old Tamil
Glottologtami1289  Modern Tamil[9]
oldt1248  Old Tamil[10]
Linguasphere49-EBE-a
Idioma tamil.png
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Tamil is a Dravidian language.[11] It is spoken in the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry states of India and parts of Sri Lanka. Many people in Singapore and Malaysia also speak it. A few people speaking Tamil live in various places around the world.

It is in the southern branch of the Dravidian language family. It is one of world's oldest literary languages. It has existed for at least 2,000 years.[12][13] 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 90 million people.

Tamil script[change | change source]

The script of the language is very old. It has 12 consonants, 18 vowels, and the āytam , 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 is a Brahmi script, and 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.

Tamil is the dominant language in Tamil Nadu, India, and Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is also spoken in places like the United States, Germany, Fiji, Indonesia, France, Africa and Thailand. This is because of the Tamil diaspora.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tamil language at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  2. "Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength - 2011" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  3. "Official languages of Tamil Nadu", Tamil Nadu Government, archived from the original on 21 October 2012, retrieved 1 May 2007
  4. Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India: 50th report (delivered to the Lokh Sabha in 2014) (PDF), National Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, p. 155, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2016, retrieved 8 June 2017
  5. Languages of ASEAN, retrieved 7 August 2017
  6. School languages, LINGUAMON, archived from the original on 2 September 2015, retrieved 26 March 2016
  7. Tamil on Mauritian Currency, TVARAJ.COM, 2014-10-07, retrieved 7 October 2014
  8. "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 – Chapter 1: Founding Provisions", www.gov.za, South African Government
  9. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tamil". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  10. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Old Tamil". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  11. /ˈtæmɪl/ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  12. 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
  13. Steever, Sanford B. "The Dravidian languages", First Published (1998), pp. 6–9. ISBN 0-415-10023-2

Other websites[change | change source]

Tamil at Wikibooks