Topic started by siva (@ cache82.156ce.scvmaxonline.com.sg) on Mon Jan 6 09:39:32 .
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Which Indian language is the world's oldest living language?
Tamil is the oldest of all Indian languages and also the oldest living
language in the world. It represents certain literacy types not found in
Sanskrit or other Aryan languages and traces its history to
Tolkappiyam(200bc), the earliest extant manuscript of Tamil grammar,
dated 500 B.C.
Among the four ancient literary languages of southern India
(Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Telugu) Tamil has
the longest tradition. The earliest records date from inscriptions
from 200 BC. Other early works exist which were preserved on manuscripts
made by palm-leaf and through oral transmission. Part of this rich and varied
literary output includes a Tamil indigenous grammatical tradition
independent of that of the ancient Sanskrit grammarians. The earliest
text which describes the language of the classical period is the Tolkappiyam
(dating from around 200 BC); another dates from the year 1000.
Three stages appear in the written records: ancient (200 BC to 700),
medieval (700 - 1500) and modern (1500 to the present). Sometime between 800
and the turn of the millennium, Mayalayam, a very closely related
Dravidian language, split off and became a distinct language.
All Kannadigas before 9th century A.D spoke Tamil. This is evident from the
fact that all the temples carved before 9th century A.D has Tamil
During the medieval period Tamil absorbed many loan words from
Sanskrit in the verbal system, but in the 1900s attempts were made to
purge Tamil of its Sanskrit loans with the result that modern scientific
and bureaucratic terminology is Tamil-based and not Sanskrit-based as in
other Indic languages.
.Tamil is written in an alpha-syllabic system derived from the
Ashokan Brahmi script. Tamil uses two varieties of the language:
high status variety in most writing, and a low status in speaking.
Sri Lanken Tamil is relatively conservative. The earliest text date from
200 BC. Early works were preserved on manuscripts made by palm-leaf.
Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and English have influenced it.
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH
Sanskrit is an ancient language of India. It was, and is, a language of
great religious, literary and cultural importance in India, but it wasn't
even the first Indian language to be written down. Tamil was merely the
first of the Dravidian languages -- a family of languages spoken mostly in
southern India -- to be written down, and it is far from being one of the
world's earliest languages to be written. Hebrew, Phoenician, Greek,
Etruscan, Latin and many other languages were written down long before
Sumerian was the first language to be written - it is *not* the
world's oldest language. We do not know what the world's oldest
Sanskirt, Tamil and Sumerian are all three different languages.
Sumerian was apoken in Mespotamia in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
Sanskirt and Tamil are two languages of India attested millennia
Tamil Language -
A brief review of its history and features
In the historical past Proto-Dravidian was spoken throughout India. When the
Turanians and the Aryans came to India through the Khyber and the Bolan
Passes respectively, and mingled with the local population of the North,
the North Indian languages of Proto-Dravidian origin changed to a great
extent. As a consequence Praakrit and Paali emerged as the languages of
the masses in the northern part of India. Despite the commingling of local
and foreign ethnic elements, a section of Proto-Dravidians maintained their
ethnic and cultural identity in some isolated areas, spoke corrupt forms of
Proto-Dravidian languages and these have survived, to this day, as living
examples of ancient Dravidian languages. Languages such as Kolami, Parji,
Naiki, Gondi, Ku, Kuvi, Konda, Malta, Oroan, Gadba, Khurukh, and Brahui are
examples of Dravidian languages prevalent in the North. Today
Proto-Dravidian speakers are increasingly mingling with other linguistic
groups and learning their languages. Therefore, their numerical strength is
on the decline. People living in the Rajmahal mountains in Bengal and in the
areas adjacent to Chota Nagpur are good examples of the intermingling.
A section of people living in Baluchistan speak Brahui, which has many
linguistic features similar to the Dravidian languages spoken in South India.
Scholars are surprised today to note many linguistic similarities between
Tamil and Brahui, especially in numerals, personal pronouns, syntax and in
other linguistic features. The Indian Census report of 1911 classified Brahui
as a language belonging to the Dravidian family. It was then spoken by about
170, 000 people, although this number over the years dwindled to a couple of
thousands. Whatever be their numerical strength now, they are proof of the
fact that the Dravidians in some age of the historical past were spread in
the region between Baluchistan and Bengal and spoke the Proto-Dravidian
North Indian Languages
Since the Dravidians lived throughout the Indian subcontinent at some
historical past, certain syntactical affinities are noticeable even today
between the South and a large number of North Indian languages.
When Praakrit and Paali became popular in the North, the Proto-Dravidian
language lost its ground there, and confined itself entirely to the South.
Even in South India it did not remain as one single language for a long time.
Dialectical differences arose partly due to the political division of the
Tamil country into three distinct Tamil kingdoms and partly due to the
natural barriers created by rivers and mountains. The absence of proper
land communication among the three Tamil kingdoms also accentuated this
process of dialectal differences. As a result the Dravidian language spoken
by the people. who lived in the regions north and south of the Tirupati
mountains, varied to such an extent as to become two independent languages,
Tamil and Telugu. The language spoken in the region of Mysore came to be
known as Kannada. Malayalam emerged as yet another distinct language in
Kerala. All these far-reaching changes occurred at different periods of time
in the history of the Dravidian languages. Among these four languages, it is
'only the Tamil language which has a long literary tradition.
The term Dravidian, which refers to the language of South India, is of a
later origin. Originally it was derived from the word tamil /tamiz> .
This word in course of time changed into dravida after undergoing a series
of changes like tamiza, tramiza, tramiTa, trapida and travida. At one time
the languages spoken in the regions of Karnataka, Kongu and Malabar were
respectively known as Karunaattut-tamil, Tulunattut-tamil and
Malainattut-tamil. Today however, these regional languages are classified
under the blanket term "Dravidian family of languages".
South Indian Languages
Many common linguistic features are still discernible among these Dravidian
languages. Some five thousand words are common to these languages.
Many grammatical forms are common. The overwhelming influence of Sanskrit
scholars and the indiscriminate borrowing of Sanskrit words resulted in the
emergence of Kannada and Telugu as distinct languages from Tamil some fifteen
hundred years ago. The influence of Sanskrit on Malayalam language came to
be felt only about eight centuries ago, and therefore, the areas of
difference between Tamil and Malayalam are not many. Tamil was the language
of bureaucracy, of literati and of culture for several centuries in Kerala.
In fact, fifteen centuries ago the rulers of Kerala were all Tamils.
Up to the tenth century the Pandya kings ruled Kerala with royal titles such
as 'Perumaankal and 'Perumaankanar'. It was a Tamil poet from Trivandrum who
in fact presided over the academy of Tamil scholars, when they met to
evaluate the famous Tamil grammatical work Tolkappiyam. From the third
century 13.C. to the first century A.D., many poets from Kerala composed
poems in Tamil and their compositions are included in Tamil anthologies such
as Akananaru and Purananaru. All the one hundred poems in the anthology
PatiRRuppattuextol the greatness of the kings of the Kerala region.
The author of the famous Tamil epic Cilappatikaram was a poet from Kerala.
The shrine in honor of KaNNaki, the heroine of Cilappatikaram, was built at
Tiruvancikkulam in Kerala. Among the Saiva and Vaisnava composers,
CEramAn PerumAl Nayanaar and KulacEkara Alvaar respectively, belong to the
Kerala region. AiyanEritanaar, the author of the tenth century grammatical
work PuRapporul VeNpaamaalai, hailed from Kerala. Many scholars and pundits
from Kerala contributed much to the Tamil language and literature and the
historical evidence shows that the region now known as the State of Kerala
was once an integral part of Tamil Nadu at some period of time. Because of
these reasons there is greater affinity between Tamil and Malayalam than
between Tamil and Kannada or Telugu.
Contact with Foreign Countries
Tamil occupies a distinctive position among the Dravidian languages owing to
its geographical expansion, for it has spread beyond the frontiers of India.
Apart from being the language of forty million people in Tamil Nadu it is the
spoken and written language of several millions of Tamils living in Ceylon,
Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Fiji Islands and
That the Tamils were well advanced in sea-borne and inland trade is evident
both from Tamil literary sources as also from the accounts of foreign
travellers.* Even as early as the tenth century B.C., articles of trade
such as peacock feathers, elephant tusks and spices intended for King
Solomon were sent in ships belonging to the Tamil country. Some words in
Hebrew, Greek and English point to the existence of trade between Tamil Nadu
and the countries around the Mediterranean region. Classical Hebrew terms
like tuki and ahalat are close to the Tamil words tokai and akil respectively.
Although English words like 'sandalwood' and 'rice' are borrowed from the
Greek language, their origin is in fact Tamil. Likewise the Greek words for
ginger and pepper also owe their origin to Tamil. Sea-borne trade flourished
between the Tamil country and the Roman Empire during the period of
Emperor Augustus. This fact is borne out by numerous coins issued during his
reign, which were unearthed by archaeologists in the Tamil country.
Iron age finds in Philippines also point to the existence of trade between
Tamil Nadu and the Philippine Islands during the ninth and
tenth centuries B.C. This apart, Tamil traders frequented the shores of
Burma, Malaya and China with their wares and bartered them for Chinese silk
and sugar. The Tamil word ciini for sugar indicates its origin.
In Tamil classical works.
The renowned Sanskrit epics the Raamayanaa and the Mahaabhaarata also speak
about the Tamil country and in particular the importance of Madurai as the
capital of the Paandyaa kings. Megasthenes, who came to India during the
period of Chandragupta Maurya, refers to the Paandya country and its polity.
The edicts of the famous Indian Emperor Asoka also mention that during his
rule the Tamil kings in the far south of India enjoyed political independence.
Antiquity of Tamil Grammatical Works
Among the ancient grammatical works available, the Tolkappiyam was the
earliest and it was written around the third century B.C. There are over two
hundred and fifty references in Tolkaappiyam which, provide substantial
evidence of the existence of many classical and grammatical works in Tamil
prior to Tolkaappiyam itself. It classifies Tamil words into four categories,
iyarcol, tiricol, ticaiccol, and vatacol. Iyarcol refers to the words in
common use, while tiricol refers to the words used specifically in poetry.
Regional words are known as ticaiccol. Words borrowed from Sanskrit are
called vatacol. Certain specific rules were stipulated in borrowing words
from Sanskrit. The borrowed words were to strictly conform to the
Tamil phonetic system and to be written in the Tamil script. All these
indicate the sound grammatical basis on which the Tamil language has evolved
over the years.
Besides, Tolkaappiyam also classifies the Tamil language into centamil and
kotuntamil. The former refers to the classical Tamil used exclusively by
literati in their works and the latter refers to the colloquial Tamil,
spoken by the people. This shows that even in those distant days differences
had grown to such an extent as to enable the Tamil grammarians to classify
the language into written and spoken.
The earlier Tamil inscriptions were written in braahmi, grantha and
vaTTezuttu scripts.* Inscriptions after the seventh century A.D. contain
Tamil characters similar to the one now in vogue. This prompted some scholars
to argue that vatteluttu and Tamil scripts originated from braahmi scripts.
This view has no solid base, for one can see a copious description of Tamil
scripts in Tolkaappiyam, which belongs to third century B.C. It is obvious
therefore, that Tamil language had a distinct script of its own even at that
early period. In fact vaTTezuttu is none other than the old Tamil script.
Even the southern braahmi was a corrupt form of vaTTezuttu .
Distinct differences exist between the southern and the northern braahmi
script, for the southern one had its genesis in vaTTezuttu .
Much before brahmi scripts could become popular the Tamils possessed a
script of their own which they put to use in their commercial transactions
and in their writings.
* According to Professor M. Varadarajan, vaTTezuttu was nothing but the
scripts inscribed on stones. They had been known as veTTezuttu or letters
inscribed on stones. But in course of time and by usage it was transformed
into vaTTezuttu . For an in-depth study of Tamil scripts refer,
"What the vaTTezuttu is and how it came into being and how it was
practiced we cannot say definitely. But we can say almost with some
definiteness that it represents a very ancient cursive alphabet, perhaps
the primitive South Indian alphabet which existed long, long before the
inscriptions of Asoka." V.R.R. Dikshitar, Pre-Historic South India, Madras,
1951, p. 218. Yet for another view of the origins of Tamil scripts refer,
John R. Marr, "The Early Dravidians" in A.L. Basham (ed.), A Cultural History
of India, London. 1975, pp. 32-34.
The Tamii characters which are in use today also can be deemed to have
originated from vatteluttu. There are twelve vowels in Tamil consisting of
five short vowels
Tamil language and literature. Besides, the ancient classical Tamil
literature originated and blossomed from the folk song and poetry of the
Tamil country. The forms of such poetry were also not borrowed from any other
language, but were culled from the folk poetry and songs that was in vogue
among the people of Tamil Nadu. The existence of such combination of
antiquity and individuality in Tamil literature, was forgotten by later day
Sanskrit scholars. As such they not merely denied the greatness due to the
Tamil language but began to look upon it on the assumption that it borrowed
immensely from Sanskrit from its very inception. Therefore, Sanskritists
indulged in unwanted polemics by arguing that Tamil had no intrinsic merit
of its own because it borrowed heavily from Sanskrit and its only during
medieval period (after 1500bc) Tamil absorbed many loan words from
Sanskrit in the verbal system.
To establish this assumption, Caminata Desikar, a Sanskrit scholar and author
of a grammatical work entitled ilakkaNakkottu compared the alphabets of
Sanskrit and Tamil and found that all, expect five alphabets, the two short
vowels e (±) and o (´) and three consonants Ra, na and za (È, É, Æ ) are
common to both the languages. Therefore he argued that all the characters
common to the two languages essentially belonged to Sanskrit and the five
rare symbols which are absent in Sanskrit belonged specifically to Tamil.
Based on his findings he wrote an unusual verse in which he posed insolently
a question whether Tamil with only five letters of its own could ever be
called a language.
Stupid Sanskritists quoted that Intelligent persons will be ashamed
To call it a language
That possesses only five letters
This scurrilous verse only indicates the irrational attitude of the
Sanskrit scholars of the seventeenth century.
Such unreasonable attitude became obvious in analysing the origin of words
that were common to Sanskrit and Tamil. Basic words like niir (water) and
miin (fish) which had been in use from time immemorial in Tamil language was
interpreted by Sanskrit scholars as having originated from Sanskrit roots.
They refused to consider the possibility that Sanskrit would have borrowed
these common words from Tamil, the most ancient language of the region, and
even propagated that most of the words in Tamil had been borrowed from
Sanskrit. The Tamil scholars were perplexed by such unfounded claims.
However with the arrival of linguists like Caldwell from Europe, and with
the publication of books in English refuting the claims of Sanskritists,
Tamil scholars gained confidence in the intrinsic value of Tamil language.
Despite this, the biased views held by Sanskritists held sway ir the world
of letters even up to this century until linguists in England like Burrow
falsified these erroneous claims by their researches. This controversy
persisted even in analysing the names of places in the Tamil region. After
translating certain names of places from Tamil to Sanskrit, the Sanskrit
scholars argued that they were borrowed from Sanskrit. One classic example
was Vriddhachalam which is a literal translation of the Tamil place called
MutukunRam. Likewise, several names of deities were translated into Sanskrit.
The devotional hymns of the Nayanmars in fact mentioned these names in their
pure Tamil form. Instances are not wanting that while translating names of
places from Tamil into Sanskrit, the Sanskrit scholars failed to comprehend
the real meaning of the criginal Tamil words and translated them erroneously.
Without knowing the actuai meaning of the name of a town ArkkaTu (Arcot),
the Sanskrit scholars translated it Sataranyam, which literally means six
forests, whereas the Tamil word arkkaTu literally means a forest of fig trees.
To perpetuate these Sanskritised names, they wrote stories as well.
Despite their efforts Sanskritised names failed to gain currency among the
people. The Sanskrit scholars, for example, tried to Sanskritise the name of
the river Paalaaru as Ksra Nati. It could not be perpetuated.
Thus the Sanskrit scholars unnecessarily sowed the seeds of dissension in
the Tamii country.
Tanit-Tamil Iyakkam (Pure Tamil Movement)
Sanskrit scholars attempted to Sanskritise Tamil several centuries ago by
the liberal use of Sanskrit words. They argued that such a liberal mixture
enhanced the beauty of the Tamil language and compared the hybrid language
to an ornament made out of equal number of pearls and corals. They called
the hybrid style as manippravala style and attempted to popularize it in the
country. Some of the Jain and Vaisnava Sanskrit scholars employed that style
using grantha scripts Their attempts, however, failed because of the
naturally rich vocabulary and literary wealth of the Tamil language.
Sanskrit scholars, however, refused to acknowledge the real merit of Tamil
literary works. Although they were born in the Tamil country, spoke the Tamil
language, and lived as Tamilians, they seldom read such important works as
the TEvaram and the Tiruvaacakam. They treated lighty those who attained
scholarship only in Tamil. Even the hymns of Nayanmars, which found a pride
of place in remple rituals during the Chola period, lost their importance at
a later stage. They went to the extent of denigrating Tamil as the language
of the mortal and extolling Sanskrit as the language of gods. If the
Sanskritists found laudable ideas in Tamil works, they tried to belittle
their merit saying that those were borrowed ideas from Sanskrit works. They
tried even to underrate the importance of Tiruvalluvar's Tirukkural by
running it down as a compendium of ideas translated from Sanskrit works.
Likewise they considered that Tolkaappiyam, the first grammatical work by
Tolkappiyar was based on Sanskrit. To substantiate their view, they assigned
the work of Tolkappiyar to Tiranatumakkini who was a scholar in Sanskrit.
The RaamayaNaa, Mahaabhaarata, PuraaNas and other philosophical works were
no doubt borrowed from Sanskrit but the Sanskrit scholars tried to camouflage
the very existence of great literary works in Tamil like the Cankam classics,
didactic and devotional literature. But their efforts were halted only when
scholars like V.K. Curiyanaraayana Sastriar and Maraimalaiyatikal focussed
the attention of the people on the literary treasures of the Tamil language.
Chronological Listing of Tamil Literature :
perungunRup perungAsikkanAr malai padugadAm
mAnguti marudhanAr madhuraik kansi
muththAmak kaNNiyAr porunNARARttup padai
kadiyalUr uruththiran kaNNanAr perumbANARRuppadai
nappUdhanAr mullaip pAttu
kadiyalUr urttiran kaNNanar pattinappAlai
Flashes and glimpses of the glory of the Indus valley was once again visibly
seen during the Cholla era.That was the Golden age of India.
The Ashoka dynasty was never the golden age as what the Aryan scholars has
made us to believe.They were never seafarers and neither did they have a
literature worldly acclaimed for its richness as the Tamil sangam period.
The classical lterature of the Dravidians were second to none in the world.
You don,t find any of such in the North of India.External scholarships both
European and Aryan have distorted and served their common Indo - european
loftiness and bias.You will notice that the Dravidians were reapeatedly
ignored and never credited.
Historically, there had been a strong Tamil identity that included
Cera, Chozha and Pandiya countries and the several minor vELir
principalities. The Tamil classic CilapathikAram, was written by a cEra
Prince, iLangO adigaL and it describes the story of a chOza woman kaNNaki
who seeks justice in the Pandiyan capital. Finally, when the cEra king
cenguttuvan marches north to punish the Aryan kings kanaga and vijaya, he
does it on behalf of the entire Tamil country. Cilapathikaram describes him
marching up to the Himalayas, defeating his Aryan foes along the way and
marking the signs of all three Tamil vEnthars on the Himalayas.
Even the might asOka's empire stopped short of the Tamil country because the
Tamil alliance united to stop the invaders. Under rAjarAja The Great,
the Chozha empire ruled over the pAndiyar country and conquered the cErAs.
That was perhaps the only time the Tamil country was a single political unit.
The cEranAdu (kEraLa) was an integral part of the Tamil mind space until the
great chOzhas completely alienated them with their ruthless wars.
Amongst the spoken languages of the common people of India
(which has a long history and is ancient) Tamil alone is the spoken language
of the common people till date. NOT SANSKRIT
The Scientific history of Earth of states that Earth was a fire ball, then a
ice ball, water appeared in this stones appeared, then Sand appeared.
The Proverb clearly states the Birth of Tamil was even before Mun (Sand) was
Is this possible? Pathinen Siddhars in their Guruparambiryam,
Arasaparambiryam who record history state that a Crews from space visited
this earth, under the leadership of Anathi Sivanar, explored this earth,
estimated time of this earth, researched on the various life atoms, divine
atoms. The language spoken by them was TAMIL. That is Guruparabiryam clearly
records that TAMIL is Language spoken across the entire galaxy (Anda peradum)
Some of them had continued to stayed back in this earth and they had
civilized the Manishan ( Mun+isan - mean the ruler of this earth) uinto
Manithan ( culturered man). That is why you still hear stories about Sangam
was formed in Mukadal Nagar under auspicious leadership of Anathi Sivan to
preach, promote Tamil.
Tamil race spread across the world to develop new races, and it is one of
the reasons why till the 19th Century people across the world revered to
some how find a route to India.
But Tamilians have forgotten their history. Guruparabiryam clearly records
the history that
1. Mahabhatra occurred 5100 Years back
2. Ramayana occurred 8,64,000 Years back
3. Kanda puram occurred 12,96,000 Years back
(Note the above is only approximate nos)
Now recently NASA Satellite have found the Bridge between Rameswaran and
Lanka and state it existed so many years back. The photographs have been
published across Tamil Newspapers
The Dwarka of Kannan of Mahabharat epic, his seal etc have been recovered by
divers near Gujarat.
Note all these wars / fights happened between TAMIL and the Tamilian Race.
That is why Kannan is described as Karumai Niram BLACK in all the songs.
However due to our ignorance, magnanimity, foolishness, innocence,
selfishness of few we have donated our History, language, hereditary
rights, Temples, ....... to the PiraManinar (People from different land.)
They were wise, and perseverant enough to utilize and till date ensure to
retain their supremacy.
And we fools are happy to state, preach, accept that Sanskrit and tamil are
thanks to all who have contributed ur ideas and comments i"m bringing all together and trying to reach to all out there