Tamil language facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
தமிழ் tamiḻ
Word Tamil.svg
Pronunciation [t̪ɐmɨɻ]
Native to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Réunion, Mauritius, Burma
Ethnicity Tamil people
Native speakers 70 million  (2007)
8 million as a second language
Language family
  • Southern
    • Tamil–Kannada
      • Tamil–Kudagu
        • Tamil–Malayalam
          • Tamil languages
            • tamil
Writing system Tamil alphabet (Brahmic)
Tamil Braille
Official status
Official language in Indian states: Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,
Sri Lanka, and
Recognised minority language in  Malaysia
Linguist List oty Old Tamil
Distribution of Tamil speakers around the World

Tamil is a Dravidian language. It is spoken in the Tamil Nadu state of India and in some parts of Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. It is in the southern branch of the Dravidian language family. It is a classical language. It is one of world's oldest literary languages. It has existed for at least 2,000 years. The oldest text found in Tamil is Tolkāppiyam. Tamil is the one of the oldest living languages in the world. It is spoken by almost 65 million people.

Tamil script

The script of the language is very old, making it hard to read. It has 12 consonants, 18 vowels, and the āytam , 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 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, and Fiji. This is because of the Tamil diaspora.

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Tamil language Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.