• Search
  • Contribute Articles
  • Home

Tamil: One of the Oldest Living Languages Still Spoken

By Jan. 10, 2015
The Tamil script is believed to have been developed In the 7th century by the Pallava dynasty. The Tamil script is believed to have been developed In the 7th century by the Pallava dynasty.

Amazing Tamil: Do you know that Tamil is one of world’s oldest living languages?

Tamil tradition dates the oldest works to several millennia ago; the earliest examples of Tamil writing we have today are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC, which are written in an adapted form of the Brahmi script (Mahadevan, 2003). Archaeological evidence obtained from inscriptions excavated in 2005 dates the language to around 1000 BC.

The Tamil script is believed to have been developed In the 7th century by the Pallava dynasty when they created a new script which was formed by simplifying the Grantha script  (which in turn derived from Southern Brahmi), and adding to it the vatteluttu letters for sounds not found in Sanskrit. (source: Wikipedia)

Tirukkural, which was written nearly two millennia ago portrays a universal outlook. This is evident as the author, Tiruvalluvar, does not mention his religion, land, or the audience for his work. He is often portrayed as a holy saint of Tamil Nadu.

To qualify as a classical tradition, a language must fit several criteria: it should be ancient, it should be an independent tradition that arose mostly on its own and not as an offshoot of another tradition, and it must have a large and extremely rich body of ancient literature.

Unlike the other modern languages of India, Tamil meets each of these requirements. It is extremely old (as old as Latin and older than Arabic); it arose as an entirely independent tradition, with almost no influence from Sanskrit or other languages; and its ancient literature is indescribably vast and rich.

Let us take a look at why Tamil is considered one of the oldest living languages in the world…

Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages and is spoken today by 77 million people across 29 countries in all continents.

Tamil is one of the longest surviving classical languages and is spoken today by 77 million people across 29 countries in all continents.

 

contributed this article

One Response to Tamil: One of the Oldest Living Languages Still Spoken

  1. Ram Reply

    January 16, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Thanks for the information. It is fascinating to know that Tamil is spoken in so many countries by so many people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>