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If you learn Tamil it will be easy to learn old history of Tamil or world because the world’s oldest language is Tamil.The world oldest book is Tamil text Tholkappiyam . If you research about history of world.You are need to know Tamil.

Tamil /ˈtæmɪl/ (தமிழ், tamiḻ, [t̪ɐmɨɻ] ?) is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India andSri Lanka, and also by the Tamil diasporaSri Lankan MoorsBurghers and Chindians. Tamil is an official language of two countries, Singapore and Sri Lanka.[8][9] It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. It is also used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin.[10][11] In India, outside of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Tamil is also spoken in the states of Kerala,Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a secondary language, and by minorities in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. It was declared as a classical language by the Government of India in 2004.

The language is also spoken by Tamil minorities among the diaspora in Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates,[13] theUnited StatesUnited KingdomMauritiusCanada,[14] South Africa,[15] Fiji,[16] Germany,[17] the Philippines, theNetherlandsIndonesia[18] and France, as well as smaller emigrant communities elsewhere.
Tamil is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world.[19][20] Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions from 500 BC have been found on Adichanallur[21] and 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions have been found on Samanamalai.[22] It has been described as “the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past.”[23] The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to it being described as “one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world”.[24]
A recorded Tamil literature has been documented for over 2000 years.[25] The earliest period of Tamil literature,Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BC – AD 300.[26][27] It has the oldest extant literature among other Dravidian languages.[19] The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and hero stones date from around the 3rd century BC.[28][29] More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions (about 55,000) found by the Archaeological Survey of Indiaare in the Tamil language.[30] Tamil language inscriptions written in Brahmi script have been discovered in Sri Lanka, and on trade goods in Thailand and Egypt.[31][32] The two earliest manuscripts from India,[33][34] acknowledged and registered by UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997 and 2005, were written in Tamil.[35]
In 1578, Portuguese Christian missionaries published a Tamil prayer book in old Tamil script named ‘Thambiraan Vanakkam,’ thus making Tamil the first Indian language to be printed and published.[36] In 2014 Tamil Lexicon,published by the University of Madras, was the first among the dictionaries published in any Indian language.[37] Tamil is used as a sacred language of Ayyavazhi and in Tamil Hindu traditions of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies.


Classification

Main article: Dravidian languages
Tamil belongs to the southern branch of the Dravidian languages, a family of around 26 languages native to the Indian subcontinent.[39] It is also classified as being part of a Tamil language family, which alongside Tamil proper, also includes the languages of about 35 ethno-linguistic groups[40] such as the Irula and Yerukula languages (see SIL Ethnologue).
The closest major relative of Tamil is Malayalam; the two began diverging around the 9th century CE.[41] Although many of the differences between Tamil and Malayalam demonstrate a pre-historic split of the western dialect,[42] the process of separation into a distinct language, Malayalam, was not completed until sometime in the 13th or 14th century.[43]

History

Silver coin of king Vashishtiputra Sātakarni (c. AD 160). Obv: Bust of king; Rev: Ujjain/Sātavāhana symbol, crescented six-arch chaitya hill and river with Tamil Brahmiscript[44][45][46][47]

According to linguists like Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, Tamil, as a Dravidian language, descends from Proto-Dravidian, aProto-language. Linguistic reconstruction suggests that Proto-Dravidian was spoken around the third millennium BC, possibly in the region around the lower Godavari river basin in peninsular India. The material evidence suggests that the speakers of Proto-Dravidian were of the culture associated with the Neolithic complexes of South India.[48] The next phase in the reconstructed proto-history of Tamil is Proto-South Dravidian. The linguistic evidence suggests that Proto-South Dravidian was spoken around the middle of the second millennium BC, and that proto-Tamil emerged around the 3rd century BC. The earliest epigraphic attestations of Tamil are generally taken to have been written shortly thereafter.[49] Among Indian languages, Tamil has the most ancient non-Sanskritised Indian literature.[50] Scholars categorise the attested history of the language into three periods, Old Tamil (300 BC – AD 700), Middle Tamil (700–1600) and Modern Tamil (1600–present).[51] In November 2007, an excavation at Quseir-al-Qadim revealed Egyptian pottery dating back to first century BC with ancient Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.[31] John Guy states that Tamil was the lingua franca for early maritime traders from India.[52]

Legend

According to Hindu legend, Tamil or in personification form Tamil Thāi (Mother Tamil) was created by Lord Shiva.Murugan, revered as the Tamil God, along with sage Agastya, brought it to the people.[53]

Etymology

Agastya, Chairman of first TamilSangamMaduraiPandiyaKingdom

The earliest extant Tamil literary works and their commentaries celebrate the Pandiyan Kings for the organization of long-termed Tamil Sangams, which researched, developed and made amendments in Tamil language. Even though the name of the language which was developed by these Tamil Sangams is mentioned as Tamil, the exact period when the name “Tamil” came to be applied to the language is unclear, as is the precise etymology of the name. The earliest attested use of the name is found in Tholkappiyam, which is dated as early as 1st century BC.[54] Southworth suggests that the name comes from tam-miḻ > tam-iḻ ‘self-speak’, or ‘one’s own speech’.[55](see Southworth’s derivation of Sanskrit term for “others” or Mleccha) Kamil Zvelebil suggests an etymology of tam-iḻ, with tam meaning “self” or “one’s self”, and “-iḻ” having the connotation of “unfolding sound”. Alternatively, he suggests a derivation of tamiḻ < tam-iḻ < *tav-iḻ < *tak-iḻ, meaning in origin “the proper process (of speaking)”.[56]
The Tamil Lexicon of University of Madras defines the word ‘Tamil’ as ‘sweetness’.[57] S.V Subramanian suggests the meaning ‘sweet sound’ from ‘tam’- sweet and ‘il’- ‘sound’
Old Tamil is the period of the Tamil language spanning the 5th century BCE to the 8th century CE. The earliest records in Old Tamil are short inscriptions from between the 5th and 2nd century BCE in caves and on pottery. These inscriptions are written in a variant of the Brahmi script called Tamil Brahmi.[59] The earliest long text in Old Tamil is the Tolkāppiyam, an early work on Tamil grammar and poetics, whose oldest layers could be as old as the 1st century BC.[51] A large number of literary works in Old Tamil have also survived. These include a corpus of 2,381 poems collectively known as Sangam literature. These poems are usually dated to between the 1st and 5th centuries AD,[51]

Middle Tamil

Main article: Middle Tamil language

Thanjavur Tamil Inscription

The evolution of Old Tamil into Middle Tamil which is generally taken to have been completed by the 8th century,[51] was characterized by a number of phonological and grammatical changes. In phonological terms, the most important shifts were the virtual disappearance of the aytam (ஃ), an old phoneme,[60] the coalescence of the alveolar and dental nasals,[61] and the transformation of the alveolar plosive into a rhotic.[62] In grammar, the most important change was the emergence of the present tense. The present tense evolved out of the verb kil (கில்), meaning “to be possible” or “to befall”. In Old Tamil, this verb was used as an aspect marker to indicate that an action was micro-durative, non-sustained or non-lasting, usually in combination with a time marker such as ṉ (ன்). In Middle Tamil, this usage evolved into a present tense marker – kiṉṟa (கின்ற) – which combined the old aspect and time markers.[63]

Modern Tamil

The Nannul remains the standard normative grammar for modern literary Tamil, which therefore continues to be based on Middle Tamil of the 13th century rather than on Modern Tamil.[64] Colloquial spoken Tamil, in contrast, shows a number of changes. The negative conjugation of verbs, for example, has fallen out of use in Modern Tamil[65] – negation is, instead, expressed either morphologically or syntactically.[66] Modern spoken Tamil also shows a number of sound changes, in particular, a tendency to lower high vowels in initial and medial positions,[67] and the disappearance of vowels between plosives and between a plosive and rhotic.[68]
Contact with European languages also affected both written and spoken Tamil. Changes in written Tamil include the use of European-style punctuation and the use of consonant clusters that were not permitted in Middle Tamil. The syntax of written Tamil has also changed, with the introduction of new aspectual auxiliaries and more complex sentence structures, and with the emergence of a more rigid word order that resembles the syntactic argument structure of English.[69] Simultaneously, a strong strain of linguistic purism emerged in the early 20th century, culminating in the Pure Tamil Movement which called for removal of all Sanskritic and other foreign elements from Tamil.[70] It received some support from Dravidian parties.[71] This led to the replacement of a significant number of Sanskrit loanwords by Tamil equivalents, though many others remain.[72]

Geographic distribution

Tamil is the first language of the majority of the people residing in Tamil NaduPuducherry, in India and Northern Province,Eastern Province, in Sri Lanka. The language is also spoken among small minority groups in other states of India which includeKarnatakaAndhra PradeshKeralaMaharashtra and in certain regions of Sri Lanka such as Colombo and the hill country. Tamil or dialects of it were used widely in the state of Kerala as the major language of administration, literature and common usage until the 12th century AD. Tamil was also used widely in inscriptions found in southern Andhra Pradesh districts ofChittoor and Nellore until the 12th century AD.[73] Tamil was also used for inscriptions from the 10th through 14th centuries in southern Karnataka districts such as KolarMysoreMandya and Bangalore.[74]
There are currently sizeable Tamil-speaking populations descended from colonial-era migrants in MalaysiaSingapore,PhilippinesMauritiusSouth Africa, Indonesia,[75] Thailand,[76] Burma, and Vietnam. A large community of Pakistani Tamilsspeakers exists in KarachiPakistan, which includes Tamil-speaking Hindus[77][78] as well as Christians and Muslims – including some Tamil-speaking Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka.[79] Many in RéunionGuyanaFijiSuriname, and Trinidad and Tobagohave Tamil origins,[80] but only a small number speak the language. In Reunion where the Tamil language was forbidden to be learnt and used in public space by France it is now being relearnt by students and adults.[81] It is also used by groups of migrants from Sri Lanka and India, Canada (especially Toronto), United States (especially New Jersey and New York City),Australia, many Middle Eastern countries, and some Western European countries.
                                        This source is from wikipedia
                                                         thanks 2 that wikipedia writer

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