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Tamil language facts for kids

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தமிழ் Tamiḻ
Word Tamil.svg
Native to India
Sri Lanka
Ethnicity Tamil people
Native speakers 75 million  (2011–2015)
L2 speakers: 6 million
Language family
  • Southern
    • Tamil–Kannada
      • Tamil–Kodagu
        • Tamil–Malayalam
          • Tamil languages
            • Tamil
Early forms:
Old Tamil
  • Middle Tamil
    • Tamil
Writing system Tamil (Brahmic)
Tamil-Brahmi (historical)
Grantha (historical)
Vatteluttu (historical)
Pallava (historical)
Kolezhuthu (historical)
Arwi (Abjad)
Tamil Braille (Bharati)
Latin script (informal)
Official status
Official language in  Canada
 Sri Lanka
Recognised minority language in  Malaysia
 South Africa
Linguist List oty Old Tamil
Linguasphere 49-EBE-a
Idioma tamil.png

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.

Tamil script

The script of the language is very old. 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 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.

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