Evolution of Tamil Language in the 21st Century

Written by: Jay

Mahakavi Bharathiyar, One of the greatest Tamil poet sang that Tamil language should be spread across the world. Various factors have helped Tamil language to grow and spread all over the world. This was possible, mainly because of the evolution that Tamil language had gone through. When humans and animals adapt to the changing circumstances, we call that as Evolution. For example, whales that live in the deep sea, where there is no sunlight do not have eyes. Instead, their ears are overly capable of recognizing its prey by sound. Bajau people who are also known as ‘sea nomads’ have the ability to breath up to 13 minutes under the sea, while ordinary people cannot withstand even 5 minutes. To do that the Bajau people have 50% larger spleen than the normal human beings. A caterpillar that comes from an egg emerges as a butterfly. Similarly, we can see that the Tamil language has been evolving in different ways in different times. In the below paragraphs we will see in what ways this evolution is happening.

Growth with the Social thinking:

Pattukottai Kalyanasundaranar in his lyrics said, “Real development happens only when mind and the body grow”. This does not only apply to human beings but also to the language they use. A language changes according to the social thinking of the people who use that language. Humans have been changing their social perspective on themselves and other human beings who are different from them. Based on that, words that were hurtful to fellow human beings were changed. For example, “கூன், குருடு, செவிடு” (Hunchback, blind, deaf) which were hurtful to the others were changed to “உடல் ஊனமுற்றோர்” (physically handicapped). But after realizing that this word also sounded hurtful, It was changed to “Differently abled”. Similarly, those who were called அலி and அன்னகர் are now referred as திருநபர், திருநம்பி, திருநங்கை and மூன்றாம் பாலினத்தவர். Tamil will continue to grow when we understand more about people around us and that is the desire of those who want the Tamil language to grow. 

Growth caused by those around us

In ancient times Sanskrit words were often mixed with Tamil words. Most of the religious books also had the influence of Sanskrit language. Many words like coffee, cycle, cooker, pedal, etc. are now used by the people as Tamil words. Also many words from other languages have been adopted into Tamil language over the years. Other language people’s culture is also somewhat adopted into Tamil literature, including the letters and words of that language. Accepting the words in languages​ which we can easily communicate with those who we do trades can also be considered as an evolution.

Development caused by technology

The Tamil language, which was in inscriptions and manuscripts, is now used in the computers and mobiles. Multiple scholars have worked hard to achieve this. For example, Mr. Iravatham arranged the Tamil script in the Brahmic inscriptions across the country. These scripts had a similar pattern to the Semitic languages. According to information found at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, the Girnar inscriptions of King Ashoka, and the inscriptions of Nandi Varma Pallava, it is discovered that Tamil language was used across India. This has been confirmed by scholars including Mr.I.M.Bongard Levin and Mr.N.V.Crowe. Periyar, one of the most celebrated Tamil leaders urged for some changes in the script of the Tamil language in view of the difficulties in typing Tamil that creates difficulty in conveying his principles to the people. Today we are able to take Tamil around the world as some changes have been made in the grapheme. Many new words were coined in Tamil as Tamil people began to use various tools due to the technological advancements. For example words like விசைப்பலகை, இணையம், வலைதளம் were created specifically for Tamil people to understand technological development. Various scientific terms have been created in Tamil medium education for students’ to understand subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Zoology and Botany. Thus the Tamil language is growing by accepting other language words directly in Tamil and creating new words for the Tamil language. Keeping in mind that which word would be understood easily by the Tamil people and using the right words accordingly will be very important to the development of Tamil.


All evolving languages ​​have first evolved into sign language, then into sound forms, and then into linear inscriptions, sketches, various scrolls, paper, and digitally into computers. The next step is for machines to evolve the language they learn from us. With that the Tamil language has continued to grow all the time. It is the desire of all of us that Tamil should continue to grow with useful changes, just as a rocket sent from the earth to the sky leaves back everything that it does not need, and how a child learns new things every day. Long live Tamil!

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