Tamil language

Dravidian language of Indian subcontinent

Tamil is a Dravidian language.[8] 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. Many people speaking Tamil live in various places around the world.

தமிழ் Tamiḻ
Word Tamil.svg
Pronunciation[t̪amiɻ]; audio speaker iconpronunciation 
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


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
oldt1248  Old Tamil
Idioma tamil.png
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The Tamil language is part of the Dravidian language family, which includes Telugu,Odia, Kannada and Malayalam. According to a survey, 1863 newspapers are published in the Tamil language only every day.[9][10] The oldest text found in Tamil is a grammatical work called the Tolkāppiyam. Tamil has a long literary history, and is spoken by almost 100 million people.

Spoken Tamil

Tamil scriptEdit

The modern Tamil script is an abugida, much like the other brahmic scripts that surround it and from whom it developed from. The Tamil script has 23 consonants and 5 vowels which have long and short forms and the āytam ,. The āytam is used with other letters to represent sounds not native to the language. The vowels are written as symbols above, below or on either side of the consonant. Much like other brahmic scripts, it is written from left to right.

Tamil is the dominant language in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, and Northern provinces of Sri Lanka. It is also spoken by significant immigrant communities and the historical Tamil diaspora in like the United States, Germany, Fiji, Indonesia, France, Africa and Thailand.


  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. "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 – Chapter 1: Founding Provisions", www.gov.za, South African Government
  8. /ˈtæmɪl/ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  9. 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, S2CID 144599197
  10. Steever, Sanford B. "The Dravidian languages", First Published (1998), pp. 6–9. ISBN 0-415-10023-2

Other websitesEdit

  Tamil at Wikibooks