Dravidian languages Tamil belongs to the southern branch of the Dravidian languages , a family of around 26 languages native to the Indian subcontinent. The closest major relative of Tamil is Malayalam ; the two began diverging around the 9th century AD.
Linguistic reconstruction suggests that Proto-Dravidian was spoken around the third millennium BC, possibly in the region around the lower Godavari river basin in peninsular India. The material evidence suggests that the speakers of Proto-Dravidian were of the culture associated with the Neolithic complexes of South India. The linguistic evidence suggests that Proto-South Dravidian was spoken around the middle of the second millennium BC, and that proto-Tamil emerged around the 3rd century BC.
The earliest epigraphic attestations of Tamil are generally taken to have been written shortly thereafter. AD of Deccan. Murugan , revered as the Tamil God, along with sage Agastya , brought it to the people. Even though the name of the language which was developed by these Tamil Sangams is mentioned as Tamil, the period when the name "Tamil" came to be applied to the language is unclear, as is the precise etymology of the name.
The earliest attested use of the name is found in Tholkappiyam , which is dated as early as 1st century BC. Subramanian suggests the meaning "sweet sound" from tam — "sweet" and il — "sound". The earliest records in Old Tamil are short inscriptions from between the 5th and 2nd century BC in caves and on pottery. These inscriptions are written in a variant of the Brahmi script called Tamil Brahmi. These include a corpus of 2, poems collectively known as Sangam literature.
These poems are usually dated to between the 1st and 5th centuries AD. Middle Tamil language Tamil inscriptions in Vatteluttu script in stone during Chola period c. The evolution of Old Tamil into Middle Tamil , which is generally taken to have been completed by the 8th century,  was characterised by a number of phonological and grammatical changes. The negative conjugation of verbs, for example, has fallen out of use in Modern Tamil  — instead, negation is expressed either morphologically or syntactically.
Changes in written Tamil include the use of European-style punctuation and the use of consonant clusters that were not permitted in Middle Tamil. The syntax of written Tamil has also changed, with the introduction of new aspectual auxiliaries and more complex sentence structures, and with the emergence of a more rigid word order that resembles the syntactic argument structure of English.
The language is spoken among small minority groups in other states of India which include Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh , Kerala , Maharashtra and in certain regions of Sri Lanka such as Colombo and the hill country.
Tamil or dialects of it were used widely in the state of Kerala as the major language of administration, literature and common usage until the 12th century AD. Tamil was also used widely in inscriptions found in southern Andhra Pradesh districts of Chittoor and Nellore until the 12th century AD.
A large community of Pakistani Tamils speakers exists in Karachi , Pakistan , which includes Tamil-speaking Hindus   as well as Christians and Muslims — including some Tamil-speaking Muslim refugees from Sri Lanka.
In Reunion where the Tamil language was forbidden to be learnt and used in public space by France it is now being relearnt by students and adults. States of India by Tamil speakers and List of territorial entities where Tamil is an official language Tamil is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the 22 languages under schedule 8 of the constitution of India. It is one of the official languages of the union territory of Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Tamil is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka, along with Sinhala. The recognition was announced by the contemporaneous President of India , Abdul Kalam , in a joint sitting of both houses of the Indian Parliament on 6 June