Tamil language

Tamil
தமிழ் Tamil
Word Tamil.svg
Pronunciation [t̪ɐmɨɻ]; About this sound pronunciation 
Native to India
Sri Lanka
Ethnicity Tamil people
Native speakers
70 million (2007)[1]
8 million L2 speakers in India (no date)[2]
Early forms
Tamil alphabet (Brahmic)
Arwi Script (Abjad)
Tamil Braille (Bharati)
Tamil-Brahmi (historical)
Vatteluttu (historical)
Pallava (historical)
Kolezhuthu (historical)
Grantha (historical)
Latin script (informal)
Signed Tamil
Official status
Official language in

 Sri Lanka
 Singapore
 India:

Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ta
ISO 639-2 tam
ISO 639-3 Variously:
tam – Modern Tamil
oty – Old Tamil
ptq – Pattapu Bhashai
oty Old Tamil
Glottolog tamil1289  Modern Tamil[9]
oldt1248  Old Tamil[10]
Linguasphere 49-EBE-a
Idioma tamil.png
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Tamil (English: /ˈtæmɪl/; தமிழ் Tamiḻ [t̪ɐmɨɻ], About this sound pronunciation ) is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Burghers, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of two countries: Sri Lanka and Singapore.[11][12] It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. It is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin.[13][14] Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Tamil is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world.[15][16] It is stated as 20th in the Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide.[17] Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions from 500 BC have been found on Adichanallur[18] and 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions have been found on Samanamalai.[19] It has been described as "the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past."[20] The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to it being described as "one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world".[21]

A recorded Tamil literature has been documented for over 2000 years.[22] The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BC – AD 300.[23][24] It has the oldest extant literature among Dravidian languages.[15] The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and 'hero stones' date from around the 3rd century BC.[25][26] More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language.[27] Tamil language inscriptions written in Brahmi script have been discovered in Sri Lanka and on trade goods in Thailand and Egypt.[28][29] The two earliest manuscripts from India,[30][31] acknowledged and registered by the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005, were written in Tamil.[32]

In 1578, Portuguese Christian missionaries published a Tamil prayer book in old Tamil script named Thambiraan Vanakkam, thus making Tamil the first Indian language to be printed and published.[33] The Tamil Lexicon, published by the University of Madras, was one of the earliest dictionaries published in the Indian languages.[34] According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies.[35]

  1. ^ Mikael Parkvall, "Världens 100 största språk 2007" (The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007), in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. ^ Tamil language at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  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. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Languages in Andaman and Nicobar Islands". 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, retrieved 7 October 2014 
  8. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions - South African Government
  9. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Modern 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. ^ Cite error: The named reference languagesdept was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  12. ^ Republic of Singapore Independence Act, s.7. Republic of Singapore
  13. ^ Tamil Schools. Indianmalaysian.com. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  14. ^ Ghazali, Kamila (2010). UN Chronicle – National Identity and Minority Languages. United Nations.
  15. ^ a b Stein, B. (1977). "Circulation and the Historical Geography of Tamil Country". The Journal of Asian Studies. 37: 7. doi:10.2307/2053325. JSTOR 2053325. 
  16. ^ Steever 1998, pp. 6–9
  17. ^ "Statistical Summaries/ Summary by language size". 
  18. ^ [1], 'Rudimentary Tamil-Brahmi script' unearthed at Adichanallur
  19. ^ [2] 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscription found on Samanamalai
  20. ^ Zvelebil, Kamil (1973), The Smile of Murugan, BRILL, pp. 11–12, ISBN 978-90-04-03591-1 
  21. ^ Hart, George L. "Statement on the Status of Tamil as a Classical Language", University of California Berkeley Department of South Asian Studies – Tamil
  22. ^ Zvelebil 1992, p. 12: "...the most acceptable periodisation which has so far been suggested for the development of Tamil writing seems to me to be that of A Chidambaranatha Chettiar (1907–1967): 1. Sangam Literature – 200BC to AD 200; 2. Post Sangam literature – AD 200 – AD 600; 3. Early Medieval literature – AD 600 to AD 1200; 4. Later Medieval literature – AD 1200 to AD 1800; 5. Pre-Modern literature – AD 1800 to 1900"
  23. ^ Definitive Editions of Ancient Tamil Works. Classical Tamil, Government of India
  24. ^ Abraham, S. A. (2003). "Chera, Chola, Pandya: Using Archaeological Evidence to Identify the Tamil Kingdoms of Early Historic South India". Asian Perspectives. 42 (2): 207. doi:10.1353/asi.2003.0031. 
  25. ^ Maloney, C. (1970). "The Beginnings of Civilization in South India". The Journal of Asian Studies. 29 (3): 603. doi:10.2307/2943246. JSTOR 2943246.  at p. 610
  26. ^ Subramaniam, T.S (29 August 2011), "Palani excavation triggers fresh debate", The Hindu, Chennai, India 
  27. ^ "Students get glimpse of heritage", The Hindu, Chennai, India, 22 November 2005 
  28. ^ Cite error: The named reference Egypt was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  29. ^ Mahadevan, Iravatham (24 June 2010). "An epigraphic perspective on the antiquity of Tamil". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  30. ^ The I.A.S. Tamil Medical Manuscript Collection, UNESCO, retrieved 13 September 2012 
  31. ^ Saiva Manuscript in Pondicherry, UNESCO, retrieved 13 September 2012 
  32. ^ Memory of the World Register: India, UNESCO, retrieved 13 September 2012 
  33. ^ Karthik Madhavan. "Tamil saw its first book in 1578". The Hindu. 
  34. ^ Kolappan, B. (22 June 2014). "Delay, howlers in Tamil Lexicon embarrass scholars". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 25 December 2014. 
  35. ^ India 2001: A Reference Annual 2001. Compiled and edited by Research, Reference and Training Division, Publications Division, New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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