Tamil is one of the major literary languages of the Dravidian family of languages spoken in Southern India. It is spoken today by approximately 65 million people spread all over the globe. The majority of its speakers live in Tamil Nadu (India), Sri-Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. It has got official language status in Tamil Nadu (a state of India), in the countries Sri-Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. Tamil is one of the two classical languages of India and it has continued to exist for over two thousand years. It has a rich literary history with many literary works focusing on almost all the aspects of human life. Tamil has produced a unique world class literature which belongs to its classical period, popularly called Sangam period, which dates back to pre-fifth/sixth century A.D. Tamil culture is one of the ancient cultures of the world. It preserves many of the old customs and practices that are of most interest to anthropologists, historians and other social scientists.
Tamil is an agglutinative language with rich concatenation of suffixes onto words, and it is an SOV language with free word order. The structure of this language is of interest from the point of view of sociolinguistics and syntax as it is diglossic in nature with a distinction of high and low variety. Instruction of the Tamil language mainly concentrates on the standard varieties of both spoken and written forms.
|Free electronic editions of Tamil literary classics.