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This is a featured article. Click here for more information. Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide. 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions have been found on Samanamalai. It has been described as “the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past. 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”.
Brahmi script have been discovered in Sri Lanka and on trade goods in Thailand and Egypt. 1997 and 2005, were written in Tamil. Tamil the first Indian language to be printed and published. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. Malayalam, was not completed until sometime in the 13th or 14th century. 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.
Tamil are generally taken to have been written shortly thereafter. Among Indian languages, Tamil has the most ancient non-Sanskritic Indian literature. In November 2007, an excavation at Quseir-al-Qadim revealed Egyptian pottery dating back to first century BC with ancient Tamil Brahmi inscriptions. Tamil was the lingua franca for early maritime traders from India. Tamil, the period when the name “Tamil” came to be applied to the language is unclear, as is the precise etymology of the name. The Tamil Lexicon of University of Madras defines the word ‘Tamil’ as ‘sweetness’. 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 BC to the 8th century AD. The earliest records in Old Tamil are short inscriptions from between the 5th and 2nd century BC in caves and on pottery. Tamil grammar and poetics, whose oldest layers could be as old as the 1st century BC. A large number of literary works in Old Tamil have also survived. These poems are usually dated to between the 1st and 5th centuries AD. In grammar, the most important change was the emergence of the present tense. Tamil, which therefore continues to be based on Middle Tamil of the 13th century rather than on Modern Tamil.