Tamil language, member of the Dravidian language family, spoken primarily in India. It is one of the twenty official languages of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry (Pondicherry). It is also an official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore and has significant numbers of speakers in Malaysia, Mauritius, Fiji, and South Africa. In 2004 Tamil was declared a classical language of India, meaning that it met three criteria: its origins are ancient; it has an independent tradition; and it possesses a considerable body of ancient literature. In the early 21st century more than 66 million people were Tamil speakers. Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world.A The major regional variation is between the form spoken in India and that spoken in Jaffna (Sri Lanka), capital of a former Tamil city-state, and its surrounds.
The earliest known Tamil inscriptions date back to at least 500 BC. The oldest literary text in Tamil, Tolkāppiyam, was composed around 200 BC. The Tamil alphabet is is thought to have evolved from the Brahmi script, though some scholars believe that its origins go back to the Indus script.
The alphabet is well suited to writing literary Tamil, centamil. However it is ill-suited to writing colloquial Tamil, koduntamil. During the 19th century, attempts were made to create a written version of the colloquial spoken language. Nowadays the colloquial written language appears mainly in school books and in passages of dialogue in fiction.
Is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of South India and North-east Sri Lanka . It has official status in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Tamil is also a national language of Sri Lanka and an official language of Singapore.
It is also chiefly spoken in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradeshand Andaman and Nicobar Islandsas one of the secondary languages. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia, Canada, South Africa, Fiji, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Mauritius and Réunionas well as emigrant communities around the world.
In Malaysia, 543 primary education government schoolsare available fully in Tamil medium. The two earliest manuscripts from India, to be acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World registerin 1997 and 2005 were in Tamil. More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of Indiaare in the Tamil language. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic words have also has their impact on Tamil.
It has about 225 million speakers in the world.