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Official Use of Tamil by Country 2024

Tamil, ranking as the sixth most spoken language in India, boasts an impressive 66,742,402 speakers and holds the unique distinction of being the only language personified as a god by its speakers. This ancient language, known as the world's oldest living language, has been an integral part of Indian culture for over 2,000 years. Its influence extends beyond India, serving as an official language in some countries and recognized as a minority language in others.

The 20th century saw the introduction of Tamil to Sri Lanka, where it has since become one of the dominant languages. Despite being a minority, the Tamil-speaking community in Sri Lanka is divided into two distinct groups: Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils. In Malaysia, Tamil speakers constitute about 6.5% of the population, predominantly following Hinduism.

Mauritius, a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie, primarily uses English and French as official languages. However, Tamil is spoken by around 3.5% of the Mauritian population. In Singapore, Tamil is one of the four official languages, with Tamils making up about 5% of the population and representing the largest segment of South Indians in the country.

In India, Tamil Nadu stands as the sixth most populous state, located in the southernmost part of the country. Tamil, being the longest-spoken language in India, is the official language of Tamil Nadu. The union territory of Puducherry also recognizes Tamil as its official language. The name 'Puducherry' originates from the Tamil words 'putu' (new) and 'ceri' (village). Initially changed to Pondicherry by the French, it was officially reverted to Puducherry in 2006.

In Fiji, Tamil is the primary language spoken by the South Indian community and is predominantly taught in Sangam schools. Additionally, Tamil is acknowledged as a minority language in South Africa, spoken by the Tamil-origin population alongside other major languages like English, Afrikaans, and Zulu.

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Tamil Status
Tamil Speaking Population
Additional Details
IndiaOfficial language of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry73.4M
Tamil is one of the 22 official languages of India. The Tamil-speaking population is highly concentr...
MalaysiaRecognized as a minority language4.8M
The Malaysian government recognizes Tamil as a minority language along with Chinese. The "national-t...
MauritiusRecognized as a minority language72.1K
Tamils were the first immigrants to be brought to Mauritius by the French. Later, the British would ...
SingaporeOfficial language688.6K
Co-official language along with English, Malay and Mandarin
South AfricaRecognized as a minority language600K
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions states that ...
Sri LankaOfficial language4.2M
Co-official language along with Sinhala