One Word for One World
One Word for One World

Translations into or from Tamil

Tamil is one of the Dravidian languages, and it’s spoken by more than 60 million people around the world. These people primarily reside in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, and Mauritius. It’s the official language in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

Surprisingly, Tamil was barely influenced by Sanskrit. It possesses its own literary history of more than 2,000 years, so it belongs to the oldest languages of the Indian subcontinent.

Today, it holds the status of a classical language in all of India. However, there are vast differences between the colloquial language of Tamil and its written language.

Written Tamil

Tamil is closely related to the other languages of India, such as Malayalam, Irula, Toda, and Kota. Tamil is divided into various dialects that are mostly spoken by one of the numerous Indian castes. The Tamil dialects of mainland India and those spoken in Sri Lanka vary strongly.

Tamil has a script that, like many Indian typefaces, is somewhere between an alphabet and a syllabary. The script has a variety of what are called diacritic marks that denote a variation in the accent or pronunciation.

This script supposedly originally stems from Brahmi script. Numerous stone inscriptions document Tamil’s early separation from this script, however. The first printed documents in Tamil script were distributed during missionary periods. During this time, the missionaries aimed to standardize the orthography and grammar of the Tamil script.

Spelling reforms have been made up until recent years. Essentially, the Tamil script is only suitable for writing the standard language of Tamil. It’s entirely inappropriate when transcribing typical regional dialects.

A typical Indian script

Like the other Indian scripts, Tamil is always written from left and doesn’t differentiate between uppercase or lowercase. Tamil contains numerous loanwords from Sanskrit and English, which was an official language of India for a long time.

Because the Tamil script doesn’t contain any independent digits, it’s customary to specify quantities or numbers with certain letters.

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