Tamil language resources
Tamil is spoken on a daily basis in: India, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka
Additional background on
Tamil (????? tami?) is a classical language and one of the major languages of the Dravidian language family. Spoken predominantly by Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore, it has smaller communities of speakers in many other countries. As of 1996, it was the eighteenth most spoken language, with over 74 million speakers worldwide. It is one of the official languages of India, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
Tamil is one of the few living classical languages and has an unbroken literary tradition of over two millennia. The high level of diglossia exhibited by Tamil, and the prestige accorded to classical Tamil, have resulted in much of the vocabulary and forms of classical Tamil being preserved in modern literary Tamil, such that the higher registers of literary Tamil tend towards the classical language. The classical language also forms an important part of Tamil-medium education: verses from the Tirukkural, a classical work, are, for example, taught in primary school. The ordinary form of the modern language used in speech and writing, in contrast, has undergone significant changes, to the extent that a person who has not learnt the higher literary form will have difficulty understanding it.
The name 'Tamil' is an anglicised form of the native name ????? (IPA /t??m??/). The final letter of the name, usually transcribed as the lowercase l or zh, is a retroflex r. In phonetic transcriptions, it is usually represented by the retroflex approximant.
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All data is derived from UNESCO.