Considered as one of the longest surviving great classical languages in the world, Tamil is a Dravidian language whose literature has existed and survived for more than 2000 years. In fact, the earliest records of Tamil literature date back to the 300 BCE – 300 CE. Various inscriptions written in the Tamil language which date back to 1st century BCE and 2nd century CE have been discovered in Sri Lanka and Egypt.
Spoken by around 52 million people, Tamil is one of the 22 languages of India and is spoken predominantly in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. In fact, in 2004 Tamil became the first language to be declared a classical language by the Government of India. Apart from Tamil Nadu, Tamil is also used, to some extent in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
Outside India, Tamil is also one of the official languages of Sri Lanka and Singapore. Apart from this, Tamil is also spoken by emigrants in Mauritius, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, various Middle Eastern countries, western European countries, Canada, Australia, the UK and the USA.
Tamil is written left to right in horizontal lines. Tamil restricts the use of foreign loanwords but it has borrowed some loanwords from the languages which were used by the groups with which Tamils used to trade such as Malay, and Greek. Today, the language also contains various loanwords from Marathi, Sinhala, Telugu, Kannada, Persian, Urdu, Arabic and also from European languages such as French, Portuguese and English.
Sanskrit influence on Tamil
The earlier Tamil language was heavily influenced by the Sanskrit language, however the usage of Sanskrit loanwords in Tamil was discouraged and it gradually declined by the 20th century. Today Sanskrit loanwords used in the Tamil language are restricted to a spiritual context.
There are various dialects in Tamil ranging from Madras Tamil, Kongu or Coimbatore Tamil, Madurai Tamil, KanyaKumari Tamil, Tirunelveli Tamil, Tiriconamalai Tamil, Jaffna Tamil, Mattakkalappu Tamil, Tiruchirappalli Tamil and others.
Tamil dialects are different from each other in terms of phonological changes and vocabulary. For instance, the dialect spoken in Sri Lanka contains various words which are not used in the Tamil spoken in India.
If you want to do business or want to promote your products and services for Tamil speaking people, make sure first you find out which is your target audience. Do you want to target people living in Tamil Nadu in India or are you looking for potential customers in Sri Lanka?
After you figure out your target audience approach a reliable translation company, be it a translation services Ottawa and Montreal translation services provider where expert translators who understand the Tamil language in-depth will provide Tamil translations that are suitable for your target audience.
Tamil is regarded as one of the great classical languages of the world with great literature. So make sure you choose a reliable translation agency which can do justice to your Tamil translations.