60,700,000 in India (2001 census). Population total all countries: 68,763,360.
Tamil Nadu and neighboring states. Also in Bahrain, Belize, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Qatar, Réunion, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Tamil Nadu State; union territories Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1950, Constitution, Schedule VIII).
Adi Dravida, Aiyangar, Aiyar, Arava, Burgandi, Burma Tamil, Harijan, Hebbar, Kongar, Madrasi, Madurai, Malaya Tamil, Mandyam Brahmin, Pattapu Bhasha, Sanketi, Secunderabad Brahmin, South Africa Tamil, Sri Lanka Tamil, Tamil, Tigalu. Burgandi are nomadic. Aiyar and Aiyangar are Brahmin dialects. Southern dialect around Madurai is literary standard. Eastern dialect is colloquial standard (Zvelebil 1998). Sanketi dialect in Karnataka used by immigrants from Madurai and Shenkotta in Tamil Nadu. Lexicon greatly influenced by Kannada.
8,000,000 L2 speakers. Most also use Kannada [kan]. All are bilingual. (Gowda 1976).
Officially recognized language. Hindu, Muslim.