Tamil language

தமிழ் tamiḻ 
Spoken in:India and Sri Lanka, with significant minorities in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Mauritius, Fiji, Réunion, Trinidad and South Africa, and emigrant communities around the world
Total speakers:68 million native,<ref name="vistawide" />[1] 77 million total[2] 
Ranking:20, 16,<ref name=""ethnologue2005>Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. 15[3](native speakers)
Language family:}}}
Writing system:Vatteluttu 
Official status
Official language of: India,[4][5]
The template is . Please use instead.
This usage is deprecated. Please replace it with {{tdeprecated|Tamil language|Country}}.
'''The template is deprecated. Please use instead.
,[6] and
The template is . Please use instead.
This usage is deprecated. Please replace it with {{tdeprecated|Tamil language|Country}}.
'''The template is deprecated. Please use instead.
Regulated by:Various academies and the Government of Tamil Nadu
Language codes
ISO 639-1:ta
ISO 639-2:tam
ISO 639-3:tam
Tamil is written in a non-Latin script. Tamil text used in this article is transliterated into the Latin script according to the ISO 15919 standard.

Tamil (தமிழ் tamiḻ; IPA /t̪ɐmɨɻ/) is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, with smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. It is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and also has official status in Sri Lanka and Singapore. With more than 77 million speakers, Tamil is one of the more widely spoken languages in the world.

Tamil has a literary tradition of over two thousand years.[8] The earliest epigraphic records found date to around 300 BC and the Tolkappiyam, oldest known literary work in Tamil, has been dated variously between second century BC and fifth century AD.[9][10] Tamil was declared a classical language of India by the Government of India in 2004 and was the first Indian language to have been accorded the status.[11][12]

Tamil employs agglutinative grammar, where suffixes are used to mark noun class, number, and case, verb tense and other grammatical categories. Unlike other Dravidian languages, the metalanguage of Tamil, the language used to describe the technical linguistic terms of the language and its structure, is also Tamil (rather than Sanskrit).[13][14] According to a 2001 survey,[15] there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies.


Enlarge picture
Palm-Leaf manuscripts in Tamil describing Indigenous medicine
Tamil is one of the ancient languages of the world with a 2200 year history.<ref name="emeneaujstor" />[16][17] The origins of Tamil are not transparent, but it developed and flourished in India as an independent language with a rich literature.[18][19] More than 55% of epigraphical inscriptions, about 55,000, found by the Archaeological Survey of India in India are in Tamil language[20] Unlike in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where early inscriptions were written in Sanskrit, the early inscriptions in Tamil nadu used Tamil exclusively.[21] Tamil has the oldest extant literature amongst the Dravidian languages, but dating the language and the literature precisely is difficult. Literary works in India were preserved either in palm leaf manuscripts (implying repeated copying and recopying) or through oral transmission, making direct dating impossible.[22] External chronological records and internal linguistic evidence, however, indicate that the oldest extant works were probably compiled sometime between the 2nd century BC and the 10th century AD.[23][9][9]

Epigraphic attestation of Tamil begins with rock inscriptions from the 2nd century BC, written in Tamil-Brahmi, an adapted form of the Brahmi script.[25][26] The earliest extant literary text is the Tolkāppiyam, a work on poetics and grammar which describes the language of the classical period, dated variously between the 1st BC and 10th AD.

Tamil scholars categorise Tamil literature and language into the following periods:[27]
  1. Sangam (100 BC to 300 AD)
  2. Post-Sangam period (300 to 600 CE)
  3. Bhakthi period (600 to 1200 CE)
  4. Mediaeval Period (1200 to 1800 CE)
  5. Modern (1800 to the present)

The Sangam literature contains about 50,000 lines of poetry contained in 2381 poems attributed to 473 poets including many women poets.[28][29] Many of the poems of Sangam period were also set to music.[30] During the post-Sangam period, important works like Thirukkural, and epic poems like Silappatikaram, Manimekalai, Sīvakacintāmani were composed. The Bhakthi period is known for the great outpouring of devotional songs set to pann music. Of those 9,295 Tevaram songs on Saivism and 4,000 songs on Vaishnavism are well known.[31] The early mediaeval Period gave rise to one of the best known adaptations of the Ramayana in Tamil, known as Kamba Ramayanam and a story of 63 Nayanmars known as Periyapuranam.

Origin and development

Tamil belongs to the southern branch of the Dravidian languages. It is sometimes classified as being part of a Tamil language family, which alongside Tamil proper, also includes the languages of about 35 ethno-linguistic groups[32] such as the Irula, and Yerukula languages (see SIL Ethnologue). This group is a subgroup of the Tamil-Malayalam languages, which falls under a subgroup of the Tamil-Kodagu languages, which in turn is a subgroup of the Tamil-Kannada languages. The closest major relative of Tamil is Malayalam which is explained by the fact that until about the ninth century, Tamil and Malayalam were dialects of one language,[33] called "Tamil" by the speakers of both.[34] Although many of the differences between Tamil and Malayalam evidence a pre-historic split between eastern and western dialects,<ref "malayalamorigin"> A. Govindankutty Menon (1990). "Some Observations on the Sub-Group Tamil-Malayalam: Differential Realizations of the Cluster *nt". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 53 (1): 87-99.  the process of separation of the two into distinct languages was not completed until sometime in the 13th or 14th century.[35]

The origins and initial development of Tamil is similar to that of the other Dravidian languages and independent of Sanskrit.<ref name="caldwell" />[36] During later centuries, however, Tamil, along with other Dravidian languages like Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam etc., has been greatly influenced by Sanskrit in terms of vocabulary, grammar and literary styles.[37][38][39][40][41][42] A number of Sanskrit loan words were also absorbed by Tamil during this period, reflecting the increased trend of Sanskritisation in the Tamil country.[43]<ref name="caldwell" /> A number of authors of the late mediaeval period tried to resist this trend,[44] culminating in the puristic movement of the 20th century, led by Parithimaar Kalaignar and Maraimalai Adigal, which sought to remove the accumulated influence of Sanskrit on Tamil. This movement was called taṉit tamiḻ iyakkam (meaning pure Tamil movement).[45] As a result of this, Tamil in formal documents, public speeches and scientific discourses is largely free of Sanskrit loan words[46] and it is estimated that the number of Sanskrit loan words in Tamil may actually have come down from about 50% to 20%.[47]

Geographic distribution

Enlarge picture
Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India and Sri Lanka (1961).
Tamil is the first language of the majority in Tamil Nadu, India and North Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. The language is spoken by small groups of minorities in other parts of these two countries such as Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra in case of India and Colombo and the hill country in case of Sri Lanka.

There are currently sizeable Tamil-speaking populations descended from colonial-era migrants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, and Mauritius. Many people in Guyana, Fiji, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago have Tamil origins,[48] but only a small number speak the language there. Groups of more recent migrants from Sri Lanka and India exist in Canada (especially Toronto), USA, Australia, many Middle Eastern countries, and most of the western European countries.

Legal status

Tamil is the official Language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil is one of the official languages of the union territories of Pondicherry[49] [50][51] and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands[52] It is one of 23 nationally recognised languages in the Constitution of India. Tamil is an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore.

In addition, with the creation in 2004 of a legal status for classical languages by the government of India and following a political campaign supported by several Tamil associations<ref name="dmkpolitics2" > Classic case of politics of language. The Telegraph. Retrieved on 2007-04-20. “Members of the committee felt that the pressure was being brought on it because of the compulsions of the Congress and the UPA government to appease its ally, M. Karunanidhi’s DMK. [53] Tamil became the first legally recognised Classical language of India. The recognition was announced by the then President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, in a joint sitting of both houses of the Indian Parliament on June 6, 2004.[54]


Tamil is a diglossic language.[55][56] Tamil dialects are mainly differentiated from each other by the fact that they have undergone different phonological changes and sound shifts in evolving from Old Tamil. For example, the word for "here" —iṅku in Centamil (the classic variety)—has evolved into iṅkū in the Kongu dialect of Coimbatore, inga in the dialect of Thanjavur, and iṅkai in some dialects of Sri Lanka. Old Tamil's iṅkaṇ (where kaṇ means place) is the source ofiṅkane in the dialect of Tirunelveli, Old Tamil iṅkaṭṭu is the source of iṅkuṭṭu in the dialect of Ramanathapuram, and iṅkaṭe in various northern dialects. Even now in Coimbatore area it is common to hear "akkaṭṭa" meaning "that place".

Although Tamil dialects do not differ significantly in their vocabulary, there are a few exceptions. The dialects spoken in Sri Lanka retain many words and grammatical forms that are not in everyday use in India,[57] and use many other words slightly differently.[58] The dialect of the Iyers of Palakkad has a large number of Malayalam loanwords, has also been influenced by Malayalam syntax and also has a distinct Malayalam accent. Hebbar and Mandyam dialects, spoken by groups of Tamil Vaishnavites who migrated to Karnataka in the eleventh century, retain many features of the Vaishnava paribasai, a special form of Tamil developed in the ninth and tenth centuries that reflect Vaishnavite religious and spiritual values.[59] Several castes have their own sociolects which most members of that caste traditionally used regardless of where they come from. It is often possible to identify a person’s caste by their speech.[60]

The Ethnologue lists twenty-two current dialects of Tamil, including Adi Dravida, Aiyar, Aiyangar, Arava, Burgandi, Kasuva, Kongar, Korava, Korchi, Madrasi, Parikala, Pattapu Bhasha, Sri Lanka Tamil, Malaya Tamil, Burma Tamil, South Africa Tamil, Tigalu, Harijan, Sankethi, Hebbar, Tirunelveli, Tamil Muslim and Madurai.[61] The Tamil spoken in Chennai (Madras)(Capital of Tamil Nadu) infuses English words and is called Madras Bashai.[62]

Spoken and literary variants

Enlarge picture
The Tamil alphabet
In addition to its various dialects, Tamil exhibits different forms: a classical literary style modelled on the ancient language (caṅkattamiḻ), a modern literary and formal style (centamiḻ), and a modern colloquial form (koṭuntamiḻ). These styles shade into each other, forming a stylistic continuum. For example, it is possible to write centamiḻ with a vocabulary drawn from caṅkattamiḻ, or to use forms associated with one of the other variants while speaking koṭuntamiḻ.[63]

In modern times, centamiḻ is generally used in formal writing and speech. For instance, it is the language of textbooks, of much of Tamil literature and of public speaking and debate. In recent times, however, koṭuntamiḻ has been making inroads into areas that have traditionally been considered the province of centamiḻ. Most contemporary cinema, theatre and popular entertainment on television and radio, for example, is in koṭuntamiḻ, and many politicians use it to bring themselves closer to their audience. The increasing use of koṭuntamiḻ in modern times has led to the emergence of unofficial ‘standard’ spoken dialects. In India, the ‘standard’ koṭuntamiḻ is based on ‘educated non-brahmin speech’, rather than on any one dialect,[64] but has been significantly influenced by the dialects of Thanjavur and Madurai. In Sri Lanka the standard is based on the dialect of Jaffna.

Writing system

Main article: Tamil script
Enlarge picture
History of Tamil script.
Tamil is written using a script called the vaṭṭeḻuttu, an abugida belonging to the Brahmic family. The Tamil script consists of 12 vowels, 18 consonants and one special character, the āytam. The vowels and consonants combine to form 216 compound characters, giving a total of 247 characters. As with other Indic scripts, all consonants have an inherent vowel a, which in Tamil, is removed by adding an overdot called a puḷḷi, to the consonantal sign. Unlike most Indic scripts, the Tamil script does not distinguish between voiced and unvoiced plosives. Instead, plosives are articulated with voice or unvoiced depending on their position in a word, in accordance with the rules of Tamil phonology, as discussed below.

The Tamil script evolved from Tamil-Brahmi or Tamili, which differed from Asokan Brahmi in a number of ways. By the 9th century, Tamil-Brahmi had evolved into more rounded characters, called vatteluttu (meaning curved letters), from which the modern script evolved. In the 18th century, some changes were made to the script by the Italian missionary Constanzo Beschi, known in Tamil as Veeramamunivar, to make it easier to print. These included placing vowel markers in both the left and right of the consonants. Around 1935, E.V.Ramaswamy Periyar suggested some further changes to make it amenable to printing.[65] Some of these suggestions were incorporated by the M.G. Ramachandran government in 1978.

Enlarge picture
An eleventh century vaṭṭeḻuttu inscription, from the Brihadisvara temple in Thanjavur
In addition to the standard characters, six characters taken from the Grantha script, which was used in the Tamil region to write Sanskrit, are sometimes used to represent sounds not native to Tamil, that is, words borrowed from Sanskrit, Prakrit and other languages. The traditional system of writing loan-words, which involved respelling them in accordance with Tamil phonology remains.[66]


Main article: Tamil phonology

Tamil phonology is characterised by the presence of retroflex consonants, and strict rules for the distribution within words of voiced and unvoiced plosives. Tamil phonology permits few consonant clusters, which can never be word initial. Native grammarians classify Tamil phonemes into vowels, consonants, and a "secondary character", the āytam.


Tamil vowels are called uyireḻuttu (uyir – life, eḻuttu – letter). The vowels are classified into short (kuṟil) and long (five of each type) and two diphthongs, /ai/ and /au/, and three "shortened" (kuṟṟiyal) vowels.

The long (neṭil) vowels are about twice as long as the short vowels. The diphthongs are usually pronounced about 1.5 times as long as the short vowels, though most grammatical texts place them with the long vowels.

Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back


Tamil consonants are known as meyyeḻuttu (mey—body, eḻuttu—letters). The consonants are classified into three categories with six in each category: valliṉam—hard, melliṉam—soft or Nasal, and iṭayiṉam—medium.

Unlike most Indian languages, Tamil does not have aspirated consonants. In addition, the voicing of plosives is governed by strict rules in centamiḻ. Plosives are unvoiced if they occur word-initially or doubled. Elsewhere they are voiced, with a few becoming fricatives ally. Nasals and approximants are always voiced.[67]

A chart of the Tamil consonant phonemes in the International Phonetic Alphabet follows:[68]:

For Modern Tamil (quotes Annamalai and Steever 1998: 100-28)

Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Plosivep (b)t̪ (d̪)ʈ (ɖ)tʃ (dʒ)k (g)

The sounds /f/ and /ʂ/ are peripheral to the phonology of Tamil, being found only in loanwords and frequently replaced by native sounds. There are well-defined rules for elision in Tamil categorised into different classes based on the phoneme which undergoes elision.


Classical Tamil also had a phoneme called the āytam, written as ‘ஃ’. Tamil grammarians of the time classified it as a dependent phoneme (or restricted phoneme [33] ) (cārpeḻuttu), but it is very rare in modern Tamil. The rules of pronunciation given in the Tolkāppiyam, a text on the grammar of Classical Tamil, suggest that the āytam could have glottalised the sounds it was combined with. It has also been suggested that the āytam was used to represent the voiced implosive (or closing part or the first half) of geminated voiced plosives inside a word.[70]


Main article: Tamil grammar

Much of Tamil grammar is extensively described in the oldest known grammar book for Tamil, the Tolkāppiyam. Modern Tamil writing is largely based on the 13th century grammar Naṉṉūl which restated and clarified the rules of the Tolkāppiyam, with some modifications. Traditional Tamil grammar consists of five parts, namely eḻuttu, col, poruḷ, yāppu, aṇi. Of these, the last two are mostly applied in poetry.[71]

Similar to other Dravidian languages, Tamil is an agglutinative language.[72] Even though Tamil is characterised by its use of retroflex consonants similar to the other Dravidian languages, it also uses a unique liquid l (ழ்).[73] Tamil words consist of a lexical root to which one or more affixes are attached. Most Tamil affixes are suffixes. Tamil suffixes can be derivational suffixes, which either change the part of speech of the word or its meaning, or inflectional suffixes, which mark categories such as person, number, mood, tense, etc. There is no absolute limit on the length and extent of agglutination, which can lead to long words with a large number of suffixes.


Tamil nouns (and pronouns) are classified into two super-classes (tiṇai)—the "rational" (uyartiṇai), and the "irrational" (aḵṟiṇai)—which include a total of five classes (pāl, which literally means ‘gender’). Humans and deities are classified as "rational", and all other nouns (animals, objects, abstract nouns) are classified as irrational. The "rational" nouns and pronouns belong to one of three classes (pāl)—masculine singular, feminine singular, and rational plural. The "irrational" nouns and pronouns belong to one of two classes - irrational singular and irrational plural. The pāl is often indicated through suffixes. The plural form for rational nouns may be used as an honorific, gender-neutral, singular form.[74]

Suffixes are used to perform the functions of cases or postpositions. Traditional grammarians tried to group the various suffixes into eight cases corresponding to the cases used in Sanskrit. These were the nominative, accusative, dative, sociative, genitive, instrumental, locative, and ablative. Modern grammarians argue that this classification is artificial, and that Tamil usage is best understood if each suffix or combination of suffixes is seen as marking a separate case.[75] Tamil nouns can take one of four prefixes, i, a, u and e which are functionally equivalent to the demonstratives in English.

Tamil verbs are also inflected through the use of suffixes. A typical Tamil verb form will have a number of suffixes, which show person, number, mood, tense and voice.
  • Person and number are indicated by suffixing the oblique case of the relevant pronoun. The suffixes to indicate tenses and voice are formed from grammatical particles, which are added to the stem.
  • Tamil has two voices. The first indicates that the subject of the sentence undergoes or is the object of the action named by the verb stem, and the second indicates that the subject of the sentence directs the action referred to by the verb stem.
  • Tamil has three simple tenses—past, present, and future—indicated by the suffixes, as well as a series of perfects indicated by compound suffixes. Mood is implicit in Tamil, and is normally reflected by the same morphemes which mark tense categories. Tamil verbs also mark evidentiality, through the addition of the hearsay clitic ām.[76]

    Traditional grammars of Tamil do not distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, including both of them under the category uriccol, although modern grammaraians tend to distinguish between them on morphological and syntactical grounds.[77]

    Tamil has no articles. Definiteness and indefiniteness are either indicated by special grammatical devices, such as using the number "one" as an indefinite article, or by the context.[78] In the first person plural, Tamil makes a distinction between inclusive pronouns நாம் nām (we), நமது namatu (our) that include the addressee and exclusive pronouns நாங்கள் nāṅkaḷ (we), எமது ematu (our) that do not.[78]


    Tamil is a consistently head-final language. The verb comes at the end of the clause, with typical word order Subject Object Verb (SOV).[79] However, Tamil also exhibits extensive scrambling (word order variation), so that surface permutations of the SOV order are possible with different pragmatic effects. Tamil has postpositions rather than prepositions. Demonstratives and modifiers precede the noun within the noun phrase. Subordinate clauses precede the verb of the matrix clause.

    Tamil is a null subject language. Not all Tamil sentences have subjects, verbs and objects. It is possible to construct valid sentences that have only a verb—such as muṭintuviṭṭatu ("completed")—or only a subject and object, without a verb such as atu eṉ vīṭu ("That, my house"). Tamil does not have a copula (a linking verb equivalent to the word is). The word is included in the translations only to convey the meaning more easily.


    A strong sense of linguistic purism is found in Modern Tamil.[80] Much of the modern vocabulary derives from classical Tamil,[81] as well as governmental and non-governmental institutions, such as the Government of Sri Lanka, the Tamil Virtual University, and Annamalai University.

    These institutions have generated technical dictionaries for Tamil containing neologisms and words derived from Tamil roots to replace loan words from English and other languages. Since mediaeval times, there has been a strong resistance to the use of Sanskrit words in Tamil.[82] As a result, the Prakrit and Sanskrit loan words used in modern Tamil are, unlike in some other Dravidian languages, restricted mainly to some spiritual terminology and abstract nouns.[83] Besides Sanskrit, there are a few loan words from Persian and Arabic implying there were trade ties in ancient times.[84] Many loan words from Portuguese and Dutch and English were introduced into colloquial and written Tamil during the colonial period.

    Words of Tamil origin occur in other languages. Popular examples in English are cash (kaasu, a small coin), cheroot (curuṭṭu meaning "rolled up"),[85] mango (from mangai),[85] mulligatawny (from miḷaku taṉṉir meaning pepper water), pariah (from paraiyar), ginger (from ingi), curry (from kari), rice (from arici) and catamaran (from kaṭṭu maram, கட்டு மரம், meaning "bundled logs"),[85] pandal (shed, shelter, booth),[85] tyer (curd),[85] coir (rope).[86]

    See also


    • Herman Tieken(2001) Kavya in South India: Old Tamil Cankam Poetry. Groningen: Forsten 2001
    • Hart, George L. (1975), The poems of ancient Tamil : their milieu and their Sanskrit counterparts. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0520026721
    • Lehmann, Thomas (1989). A Grammar of Modern Tamil. Pondicherry, Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture.
    • Mahadevan, Iravatham (2003). Early Tamil Epigraphy from the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D. Cambridge, Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674012275
    • Pope, GU (1868). A Tamil hand-book, or, Full introduction to the common dialect of that language. (3rd ed.). Madras, Higginbotham & Co.
    • Rajam, VS (1992). A Reference Grammar of Classical Tamil Poetry. Philadelphia, The American Philosophical Society. ISBN 087169199X
    • Schiffman, Harold F. (1998). "Standardization or restandardization: The case for ‘Standard’ Spoken Tamil". Language in Society 27, 359–385.
    • Tolkāppiyar, Tolkāppiyam Iḷampūraṇar uraiyuṭaṉ (1967 reprint). Ceṉṉai, TTSS.
    • Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521771110.


    1. ^ Languages Spoken by More Than 10 Million People. MSN Encarta. Retrieved on 2007-04-02.
    2. ^ Top 30 Languages by Number of Native Speakers: sourced from Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. (2005). Vistawide - World Languages & Cultures. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.
    3. ^ George Weber (December 1997). "TOP LANGUAGES" (pdf). Language Today 2: 87-99. Retrieved on 2007-04-02. 
    4. ^ Official languages. UNESCO. Retrieved on 2007-05-10.
    5. ^ Official languages of Tamilnadu. Tamilnadu Government. Retrieved on 2007-05-01.
    6. ^ Official languages of Srilanka. State department, US. Retrieved on 2007-05-01.
    7. ^ Official languages of Singapore. [1]. Retrieved on 2007-05-01.
    8. ^ Kamil V. Zvelebil (1992). Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature. BRILL Academic. “p12 - ...the most acceptable periodisation which has so far been suggestedfor 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 Mediaeval literature - AD 600 to AD 1200; 4. Later Mediaeval literature - AD 1200 to AD 1800; 5. Pre-Modern literature - AD 1800 to 1900... 
    9. ^ Kamil Veith Zvelebil, Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature, pp12
    10. ^ See K.A. Nilakanta Sastry, A History of South India, OUP (1955) pp 105
    11. ^ BBC. India sets up classical languages. August 17, 2004. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    12. ^ The Hindu. Sanskrit to be declared classical language. October 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    13. ^ Kamil Zvelebil. Google Books version of the book The Smile of Murugan by Kamil Zvelebil. Retrieved on 2007-05-22.
    14. ^ A.K. Ramanujam and V. Dharwadker (Ed.), The collected essays of A.K. Ramanujam, Oxford University Press 2000, p.111
    15. ^ 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.
    16. ^ Burrow, Thomas (2001). The Sanskrit Language. Motilal Banarsidass Publications, 337. ISBN 8120817672. “…In the case of Tamil the literary tradition goes back for at least two thousand years? 
    17. ^ CIIL. Introduction to Tamil. Central Institute of Indian languages. Retrieved on 2007-05-15.
    18. ^ M. B. Emeneau (Jan-Mar 1956). "India as a Lingustic Area" (in English). Language 32 (1): 5. Retrieved on 2007-05-03. “Of the four literary Dravidian languages, Tamil has voluminous records dating back at least two millenia 
    19. ^ Caldwell, Robert
    20. ^ Staff Reporter (November 22 2005). Students get glimpse of heritage. The Hindu. Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
    21. ^ Caldwell, Robert (1875). A comparative grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian family of languages. Trübner & co, 88. “In Karnataka and Telingana, every inscription of an early date and majority even of modern day inscriptions are written in Sanskrit...In the Tamil country, on the contrary, all the inscriptions belonging to an early period are written in Tamil 
    22. ^ Dating of Indian literature is largely based on relative dating relying on internal evidences with a few anchors. I. Mahadevan’s dating of Pukalur inscription proves some of the Sangam verses. See George L. Hart, "Poems of Ancient Tamil, University of Berkeley Press, 1975, p.7-8
    23. ^ George Hart, "Some Related Literary Conventions in Tamil and Indo-Aryan and Their Significance" Journal of the American Oriental Society, 94:2 (Apr - Jun 1974), pp. 157-167.
    24. ^ Kamil Veith Zvelebil, Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature, pp12
    25. ^ Tamil. The Language Materials Project. UCLA International Institute, UCLA. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
    26. ^ Iravatham Mahadevan (2003). Early Tamil Epigraphy from the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
    27. ^ A. Velupillai. An Introduction to the History of Tamil People. Retrieved on 2007-05-14.
    28. ^ Rajam, V. S. 1992. A reference grammar of classical Tamil poetry: 150 B.C.-pre-fifth/sixth century A.D.. Memoirs of the American philosophical society, v. 199. Philadelphia, Pa: American Philosophical Society. p12
    29. ^ Dr. M. Varadarajan, A History of Tamil Literature, (Translated from Tamil by E.Sa. Viswanathan), Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 1988 p.40
    30. ^ Carnatica. Tamil Music. Retrieved on 2007-08-16
    31. ^ P.Ramanatha Pillai (Ed), Panniru thirumuraip perunthirattu (Tamil), Saiva Siddhanta Publishers, Chennai, 1961 p.3-4
    32. ^ Prof. A.K. Perumal, Manorama Yearbook (Tamil) 2005 pp.302-318
    33. ^ Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages, Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge University Press, 140. ISBN 0521771110. 
    34. ^ Freeman, Rich (February 1998). "Rubies and Coral: The Lapidary Crafting of Language in Kerala". The Journal of Asian Studies 57 (1): 38-65 at p.39. 
    35. ^ Andronov, M.S. (1970). Dravidian Languages. Nauka Publishing House, 21. 
    36. ^ See Vaidyanathan’s analysis of an early medieval text in S. Vaidyanathan, "Indo-Aryan loan words in the Civakacintamani" Journal of the American Oriental Society 87:4. (Oct - Dec 1967), pp. 430-434.
    37. ^ "Literature in all Dravidian languages owes a great deal to Sanskrit, the magic wand whose touch raised each of the languages from a level of patois to that of a literary idiom" (Sastri 1955, p309)
    38. ^ Caldwell, Robert. 1974. A comparative grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian family of languages. New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corp, p87, 88
    39. ^ Trautmann, Thomas R. 2006. Languages and nations: the Dravidian proof in colonial Madras. Berkeley: University of California Press.
    40. ^ Takahashi, Takanobu. 1995. Tamil love poetry and poetics. Brill’s Indological library, v. 9. Leiden: E.J. Brill, p16,18
    41. ^ "The author endeavours to demonstrate that the entire Sangam poetic corpus follows the "Kavya" form of Sanskrit poetry"-Tieken, Herman Joseph Hugo. 2001. Kāvya in South India: old Tamil Caṅkam poetry. Groningen: Egbert Forsten.
    42. ^ Vaiyapuri Pillai in Takahashi, Takanobu. 1995, p18
    43. ^ Sheldon Pollock, "The Sanskrit Cosmopolis 300-1300: Transculturation, vernacularisation and the question of ideology" in Jan E.M. Houben (ed.), The ideology and status of Sanskrit: Contributions to the history of the Sanskrit language (E.J. Brill, Leiden: 1996) at pp. 209-217.
    44. ^ See Ramaswamy’s analysis of one such text, the Tamil viṭututu, in Sumathi Ramaswamy, "Language of the People in the World of Gods: Ideologies of Tamil before the Nation" The Journal of Asian Studies, 57:1. (Feb. 1998), pp. 66-92.
    45. ^ Dr. M. Varadarajan, A History of Tamil Literature, (Translated from Tamil by E.Sa. Viswanathan), Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 1988- p.12 "Since then the movement has been popularly known as the Tanit-Tamil lyakkam or the Pure Tamil Movement among the Tamil scholars."
    46. ^ Ramaswamy, Sumathy (1997). "Laboring for language", Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970. Berkeley: University of California Press. “Nevertheless, even impressionistically-speaking, the marked decline in the use of foreign words, especially of Sanskritic origin, in Tamil literary, scholarly, and even bureaucratic circles over the past half century is quite striking. 
    47. ^ Movement for Linguistic Purism: The case of Tamil. Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore.. Retrieved on 2007-05-01.
    48. ^ World Language. Tamil Language. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    49. ^ Ramamoorthy, L. Multilingualism and Second Language Aquisition and Learning in Pondicherry. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    50. ^ Younger, Paul. Tamil Hinduism in Indenture-based Societies. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    51. ^ Joshua Project. Tamil People Listing. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    52. ^ Sunwani, Vijay K. Amazing Andamans and North-East India: A Panoramic View of States, Societies and Cultures. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    53. ^ S.S. Vasan. Recognising a classic. The Hindu. Retrieved on 2007-05-14.
    54. ^ Address to Parliament. The President of India (2004-07-06). Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
    55. ^ Arokianathan, S. Writing and Diglossic: A Case Study of Tamil Radio Plays. Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
    56. ^ Francis Britto. Diglossia: A Study of the Theory, with Application to Tamil Language, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 152-155. doi:10.2307/414796
    57. ^ Thomas Lehmann, "Old Tamil" in Sanford Steever (ed.), The Dravidian Languages Routledge, 1998 at p. 75; E. Annamalai and S. Steever, "Modern Tamil" in ibid. at pp. 100-128.
    58. ^ Kamil Zvelebil, "Some features of Ceylon Tamil" Indo-Iranian Journal 9:2 (June 1996) pp. 113-138.
    59. ^ Thiru. Mu. Kovintācāriyar, Vāḻaiyaṭi vāḻai Lifco, Madras, 1978 at pp. 26-39.
    60. ^ Tamil dialects. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved on 2007-03-28. “The Encyclopaedia Britannica, for example, classfies Tamil dialects into two broad sociolects, Brahmin and non-Brahmin. See Tamil language.
    61. ^ Ethnologue.com: Tamil
    62. ^ Cool words on the campus . Metro Plus Pondicherry, The Hindu. Mar 18, 2006.
    63. ^ Harold Schiffman, "Diglossia as a Sociolinguistic Situation", in Florian Coulmas (ed.), The Handbook of Sociolinguistics. London: Basil Blackwell, Ltd., 1997 at pp. 205 et seq.
    64. ^ Harold Schiffman, "Standardization or restandardization: The case for ‘Standard’ Spoken Tamil". Language in Society 27 (1998), pp. 359–385.
    65. ^ Alphabet Reforms. The Revolutionary Sayings of Periyar. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
    66. ^ As recommended in the traditional grammar, the Tolkāppiyam. See Tolkāppiyam, Nūrpā 401, "vadacol kiLavi vadavezuttu oriii"; in Tamil, "வடசொற் கிளவி வடவெழுத் தொரீஇ" This rule is in the Chapter on col ("word"), in the Section for eccaviyal, எச்சவியல்" ("extra items")
    67. ^ See e.g. the pronunciation guidelines in G.U. Pope (1868). A Tamil hand-book, or, Full introduction to the common dialect of that language. (3rd ed.). Madras, Higginbotham & Co.
    68. ^ E. Annamalai and S.B. Steever, Modern Tamil in S.B. Steevar (Ed.)The Dravidian Languages, London and New York, Routledge 1998, p100-128
    69. ^ Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju (2003). The Dravidian Languages, Cambridge Language Surveys. Cambridge University Press, 154. ISBN 0521771110. 
    70. ^ See generally F. B. J. Kuiper, "Two problems of old Tamil phonology", Indo-Iranian Journal 2:3 (September 1958) pp. 191-224, esp. pp. 191-207.
    71. ^ "Five fold grammar of Tamil". Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
    72. ^ "Tamil is an agglutinative language". Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
    73. ^ "A Reference Grammar of Classical Tamil Poetry: 150 B.C.-Pre-Fifth/Sixth Century A.D. By V. S. Rajam". Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
    74. ^ "Classes of nouns in Tamil". Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
    75. ^ Harold Schiffman, "Standardization and Restandardization: the case of Spoken Tamil." Language in Society 27:3 (1998) pp. 359-385 and esp. pp.374-375.
    76. ^ id="CITEREFSteever2002">Steever, Sanford B. (2002), "Direct and indirect discourse in Tamil", in Güldemann, Tom & Manfred von Roncador, Reported Discourse: A Meeting Ground for Different Linguistic Domains, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 91-108, ISBN 9027229589 at p. 105.
    77. ^ Lehmann, Thomas (1989). A Grammar of Modern Tamil. Pondicherry: Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture.  at pp. 9-11
    78. ^ Annamalai, E. & S.B. Steever (1998), "Modern Tamil", in Steever, Sanford B., The Dravidian Languages, London: Routledge, pp. pp. 100-128, ISBN 0415100232 at p. 109.
    79. ^ "Tamil is a head-final language". Retrieved on 2007-06-01.
    80. ^ Sumathi Ramaswamy, En/Gendering Language: The Poetics of Tamil Identity" Comparative Studies in Society and History 35:4. (Oct. 1993), pp. 683-725.
    81. ^ For example Cre-A’s Modern Tamil Dictionary contains 15,875 words, of which only a small percentage of words, some with Grantha letters are loan words.
    82. ^ Sumathi Ramaswamy, "Language of the People in the World of Gods: Ideologies of Tamil before the Nation" The Journal of Asian Studies, 57:1. (Feb. 1998), pp. 66-92.
    83. ^ Dr.T.P. Meenakshisundaram, A History of Tamil Language, Sarvodaya Ilakkiya Pannai, 1982 (translated) p. 241-2
    84. ^ Silapadhigaaram, Manimekalai, P.T.Srinivasa Iyengar’s "History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 AD", Madras, 1929
    85. ^ Oxford English Dictinary Online. Oxford English Dictinary. Retrieved on 2007-04-14.
    86. ^ Entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved on 2007-04-14.

    External links

    Online learning resources
    International Phonetic Alphabet

    Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

    The International
    Phonetic Alphabet
    Nonstandard symbols
    Extended IPA
    Naming conventions
    IPA for English The
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
    Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    "Sri Lanka Matha"
    Music   , Singing  
    ..... Click the link for more information.

    ..... Click the link for more information.
    "Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu"
    "Unity Is Strength" 1

    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Emirate of Dubai
    إمارة دبيّ

    Dubai's nightime skyline


    Emirate Dubai
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    "Stella Clavisque Maris Indici"   (Latin)
    "Star and Key of the Indian Ocean"
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui
    Fear God and honour the Queen
    God Bless Fiji
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Région Réunion

    (Region flag) (Region logo)


    Capital Saint-Denis
    Regional President Paul Vergès
    (PCR) (since 1998)

    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Trinidad (Spanish: "Trinity") is the largest and most populous of the 23 islands which make up the country of Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just 11 km (7 miles) off the northeastern coast of Venezuela.
    ..... Click the link for more information.

    ..... Click the link for more information.
    This is a list of languages, ordered by the number of native-language speakers, with some data for second-language use. Languages are listed for secondary locations only when spoken by more than 1% of the population.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language. As with biological families, the evidence of relationship is observable shared characteristics.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Tamil-Kannada is a hypothetical inner branch (Zvelebil 1990:56) of the South Dravidian I (SDr I) subfamily in the family of Dravidian languages that include Tamil and Kannada.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    The Tamil-Kodagu languages are a subcategory of the Dravidian language family, and include Tamil, Malayalam, and other similar languages.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    The Tamil-Malayalam languages are a subcategory of the Dravidian language family, and include Tamil, Malayalam, and related dialects. These languages are spoken in southern India and South Asia.

    External links

    • List of languages in the Tamil-Malayalam family

    ..... Click the link for more information.
    writing system is a type of symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.

    General properties

    Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that one must usually understand something of the
    ..... Click the link for more information.

    ISO 15924 Taml

    Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.
    The Tamil script (தமிழ் அரிச்சுவடி
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
    Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    This is a list of bodies that regulate standard languages.

    Afrikaans Die Taalkommissie, South Africa
    Arabic Academy of the Arabic Language (مجمع اللغة العربية, Syria, Egypt, Jordan,
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    government is a body that has the power to make and the authority to enforce rules and laws within a civil, corporate, religious, academic, or other organization or group.[1]
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Coordinates: city

    Tamil Nadu (Tamil: தமிழ்நாடு pronunciation  
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. It consists of 136 two-letter codes used to identify the world's major languages. These codes are a useful international shorthand for indicating languages.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    ISO 639-2 is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. The three-letter codes given for each language in this part of the standard are referred to as "Alpha-3" codes. There are 464 language codes in the list.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    ISO 639-3 is an international standard for language codes. It extends the ISO 639-2 alpha-3 codes with an aim to cover all known natural languages. The standard was published by ISO on 5 February 2007[1].
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    ISO 15919 (2001) is an international standard for the transliteration of Indic scripts to the Latin alphabet. It uses diacritics to map the much larger set of Brahmic consonants and vowels to the Latin script. See also Transliteration of Indic scripts: how to use ISO 15919 .
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    International Phonetic Alphabet

    Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

    The International
    Phonetic Alphabet
    Nonstandard symbols
    Extended IPA
    Naming conventions
    IPA for English The
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Dravidian family of languages includes approximately 73 languages[1] that are mainly spoken in southern India and northeastern Sri Lanka, as well as certain areas in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and eastern and central India, as well as in parts of Afghanistan and Iran,
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Tamils  • Telugus  • Tuluvas  • Gonds

    Tamil people
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved.
    Protection is not an endorsement of the current [ version] ([ protection log]).
    ..... Click the link for more information.

This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.