- One of the oldest classical languages in the world is the Tamil language. Studies show that one of the Cameroonian tribes in Africa speaks an old but deformed form of Tamil called Tamazight.
- In Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, historians have found Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. However, they have failed to give an exact date of its origin. The language is believed to have been spoken since 500 B.C.
- During the pre-colonial era, Tamil was one of the main languages used for trade.
- The ancient principality of Kamarinadu existed between India and Ethiopia. The ancient Tamils conquered Kamarinadu, which connected India and Ethiopia, and spread the language to Africa.
- It is one of the most difficult and oldest languages in the country (more than 50,000 years). This Dravidian language is one of the major languages of South India and is spoken by more than 60 million people in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The original Indians spoke Sanskrit in the north, Tamil in the south, and Austroasiatic in the east.
- It is believed that the Maya of the Maya civilization of South America were actually Tamils and spoke a dialect of Tamil. Studies also show that the language of the Jews, Hebrew, derives from Tamil. This is due to the Tamil exodus to Africa via the Middle East.
facts and numbers
- Tamil has gained classic status. In fact, it is one of the first languages to achieve this status.
- Today, Tamil is spoken not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in northern Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, and Fiji. 1% of the world’s population are Tamil-speaking people, and it is the 15th most spoken language in the world.
- Tamil has been granted official language status in quite a few countries, and it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
Tamils are of Dravidian origin. The four main Dravidian (South Indian) languages are Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. Among the Dravidian family of languages, Tamil is considered the main language. Dravidians form the majority of the population of South India, and there are around 220 million native speakers of Dravidian languages in the world.
Diglossia – spoken and written
Tamil uses two dialects or languages, and when a language community uses two dialects it is known as diglossia. They are known as H or ‘high’ type and L or ‘low’ type in linguistic parlance. Type H or ‘high’ is found in the literature. It is also used in religious ceremonies and education, since it is more formal, traditional and appreciated. The ‘low’ type is used in everyday language. The ‘high’ type is found in ancient Tamil texts, which are a repository of knowledge. They have been translated into many languages and are appreciated by people all over the world.
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