Indian Languages Spoken in Singapore


The Tamil language primarily occupies a predominant position among all the Indian languages spoken in Singapore. Tamil, one of the Indian languages spoken in Singapore is an ancient language dating back to the 2nd century BC. The other Indian languages spoken in Singapore are Hindi, Bengali and Gujarati. The Tamil is the most widely popular language among all the other Indian languages spoken in Singapore as many Tamils hailing from the southern part of India have migrated to Singapore.

History of the Tamil language
The Tamil language developed independently and has no connections with the Sanskrit language, which is the originator of all the other Indian languages. Tamil is the most ancient Dravidian language and is a rich storehouse of language. In the ancient times majority of the Dravidian literature were composed in the Tamil language and the earliest works dates back to about 200 B.C. The Tamil scholars have made the following classification of the Tamil language and literature:

The Sangam Period: 200 BCE----300 CE
The Post Sangam Period: 300 CE---700 CE
The Bhakti Period: 700 CE----1200 CE
The Medieval Period: 1200 CE----1800 CE
The Modern Period: 1800 CE ----- the present day

Sanskrit did not influence Tamil until the early medieval times. In the later half of the medieval period, the Tamil language incorporated Sanskrit words in its vocabulary. It showed the growing influence of the Sanskrit language within the ruling community in the Tamil-speaking country.

Many authors tried to resist the growing popularity of Sanskrit during the latter part of the medieval period and this led to the rise of a new movement known as the Puristic Movement. The leaders of the Puristic Movement were Maraimalai Adigal and Parithimaar Kalaigner and they vowed to purify the Tamil language from the cumulative influence of the Sanskrit language. It was purely a Tamil Movement and it was because of this movement that the Tamil used in the public discourse is totally free of any borrowed Sanskrit words.

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