60,700,000 in India (2001 census). Population total all countries: 68,763,360. L2 users: 8,000,000 in India.
Tamil Nadu and neighboring 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.
Most also use Kannada [kan]. All are bilingual. (Gowda 1976). Used as L2 by Alu Kurumba [xua], Attapady Kurumba [pkr], Eravallan [era], Irula [iru], Jennu Kurumba [xuj], Kadar [kej], Kanikkaran [kev], Kannada Kurumba [kfi], Kota [kfe], Malankuravan [mjo], Malasar [ymr], Muthuvan [muv], Paliyan [pcf], Paniya [pcg], Saurashtra [saz], Toda [tcx], Vaagri Booli [vaa].
Officially recognized language. Hindu, Muslim.