Why Tamil Is A Classical Language?


One of the oldest and most difficult languages, Tamil, became a classical language in 2004. In fact, it’s one of the first languages to attain this status. Spoken by over seventy million people in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia, this Dravidian language is one of the major South Indian languages.

We tell you why Tamil is a classical langue… read on:

It’s ancient:

One of the oldest and widely spoken languages in the world, it’s almost as world as the world itself. The first known inscriptions and words are recorded in 1st and 2nd BC. According to Wikipedia, Tamil has been described as ‘the only language of contemporary India which is recognisably continuous with a classical past’. This is what makes the beautiful language a classical one.

It has a vast and rich literature:

The literature is one of the oldest and has existed for over 2000 years. The ancient Sangam literature was first recorded between 200 and 300 BC. Whether it’s the short stories, novels or plays, Tamil literature has inspired a host of other cultures and communities into making their own written and spoken words. In fact, Malayalam is said to be inspired by Tamil, while Telugu is deeply influenced by Sanskrit and a little bit of Tamil. What’s interesting is that
More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions that were found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language…isn’t that amazing? If you don’t believe us, ask any Tamilian about Thirukural, Sillapadikaram and Manimekalai and they will be beaming with pride!

It’s sacred:

It’s used as a scared language in Ayyavazhi and in Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Since it’s grammar has continuously spread from old, middle and new Tamil eras, it’s also used as part of rituals, functions and celebrations. Only other language to be used in rituals is Sanskrit.

It’s origin is independent:

Although it’s not known if Sanskrit is older or Tamil is, it’s safe to say that Tamil is an independent language. According to Ambika Soni, a classical language is chosen according to “High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500–2000 years; a body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; the literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; the classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.”

Tamilans, be proud of your lineage and preserve the culture for the future generations to come!

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