Tamil language facts for kids
|Native speakers||75 million (2011–2015)
L2 speakers: 6 million
|Writing system||Tamil (Brahmic)
Tamil Braille (Bharati)
Latin script (informal)
|Official language in||
|Recognised minority language in|| Malaysia
|Linguist List||oty Old Tamil|
Tamil is a Dravidian language. 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.
The Tamil language is part of the Dravidian language family, which includes Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. According to a survey, 1863 newspapers are published in the Tamil language only every day.. The oldest text found in Tamil is Tolkāppiyam. Tamil has a long literary history, and is spoken by almost 90 million people.
The script of the language is very old. It has 12 consonants, 18 vowels, and the āytam ஃ, which is neither a consonant nor a vowel. The āytam can be used with other letters to represent sounds not in the Tamil script, such as 'f'. The consonants and vowels can mix to form compound letters. Altogether, there are 247 sounds/sets of sounds in the Tamil script. Tamil, like English, is written from left to right.
It is a Brahmi script, and it has been said that most of the other Indian scripts are basically derived from the letters of Tamil. In a few cases, the words themselves were used in other Indian languages for better understanding. Tamil numbers have certainly shaped the numbers in other Dravidian language family.
Tamil is the dominant language in Tamil Nadu, India, and Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is also spoken in places like the United States, Germany, Fiji, Indonesia, France, Africa and Thailand. This is because of the Tamil diaspora.
Images for kids
Mangulam Tamil Brahmi inscription in Mangulam, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, dated to Tamil Sangam period (c. 400 BC to c. 200 AD)
Tamil Brahmi script in the reverse side of the bilingual silver coin of king Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (c. AD 160) of Deccan. Rev: Ujjain/Sātavāhana symbol, crescented six-arch chaitya hill and river with Tamil Brahmi script Obv: Bust of king; Prakrit legend in the Brahmi script
Tamil inscriptions in Vatteluttu script in stone during Chola period c.1000 AD at Brahadeeswara temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
Tamil language Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.