Tamil belongs to the Dravidian family of languages, where it is rightfully regarded as their most ancient and typical representative.The number of speakers, which exceeds 70 million, makes Tamil one of the major languages of the world. The groat bulk of Tamils (approx. 90 per cent) live in South India, where Tamil is an official language of Tamilnadu. A few millions of Tamils live in Sri Lanka, mostly in its northern and eastern areas. Tamils also form a sizable portion of the population in South East Asian countries, primarily Malaysia (nearly 1 million), Indonesia (0.5 mill.). Nyanmar (0.2 mill.) and Singapore (0.2 mill.). Many hundred thousand Tamils reside in South Africa, Mauritius and elsewhere. As a second language Tamil is regularly used by tribesmen of Tamilnadu and other Indian bilinguals (ca 4 mill.).
The written history of the Tamil language is known for nearly twenty-two centuries: the earliest specimens of writing Tamil date back to the 2nd century B.C. The earliest extant monuments of Tamil poetry belong to the last quarter of the 1st century A.D. Yet there are evident signs of a long literary tradition that must have preceded their appearance.
CONTENTS: The grammar includes chapters on: Orthography and Orthoepy - Morphology (Nouns - Numerals - Pronouns - Personal nouns - Adjectives - Verbs - Adverbs - Particles - Imitative words - Echo-words - Interjections) - Syntax (Simple sentence (Subject - Predicate - Agreement between subject and predicate - Attribute - Object - Adverbial modifiers - Homogeneous parts of the sentence - Word order - Inversion - Mononuclear sentences - Incomplete sentences), Composite sentence (Complex sentences - Compound sentences - Parenthetical sentences)). It concludes with an index of sandhi transmutations, an index of inflexions, and References.