NEW DELHI, November 9: The Tamil Nadu Government has issued a government order to include 9,000 new Tamil words in the language.
Currently, Tamil has over 4,70,000 unique words, and the over 2,000-year-old language is spoken by 77 million people in India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and other parts of the globe.
School Education Minister K. A. Sengottaiyan released the list of 9,000 new Tamil words at a function held in Ethiraj College in Chennai on Friday in the presence of Fisheries, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Minister D. Jayakumar and Tamil Official Language and Culture Minister K. Pandiarajan.
Speaking at the function, Minister K. Pandiarajan said the new Tamil words have been coined as a result of the hard work of experts from various fields for ten months.
“The State government has ushered in a golden age for Tamil etymology. The government has constituted a committee of experts to coin new Tamil words. We have found 470,000 unique Tamil words from old literary sources. This is three times more than the number of unique English words in the Oxford English Dictionary,” said Mr. Pandiarajan.
He also stressed the need for the contribution of students in nurturing the etymological aspects of Tamil.
Fisheries, Personnel and Administrative Reforms Minister D. Jayakumar said the State government was taking measures to promote the growth and development of the Tamil language.
“The film-makers have to play a role in promoting Tamil using their creativity. We remember many old feature films for their contribution to Tamil society, language and culture,” said Mr. Jayakumar.
The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University Vice Chancellor Sudha Seshayyan said the youth should learn new words from the Tamil dictionary regularly to show their respect for the great Tamil scholar Veeramamunivar, who developed the Tamil dictionary.
“Veeramamunivar came to Tamil Nadu in 1710. He developed the Tamil-Tamil dictionary. In an era of technological innovation, it is our duty to coin new words for Tamil. Students should use social media to coin new words that have their roots in the Tamil language,” said Ms.Seshayyan.
Poet Jayabaskaran said new Tamil words are crucial for administrative reforms and judicial reforms in the State. “The new words in Tamil will strengthen our pursuit of excellence in trade, law, administration, technology and medicine,” he said.
Tamil is an official language in three countries: India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. In India, it is the official language of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Furthermore, Tamil is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin.
Tamil is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. A K Ramanujan described it as “the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past.” The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to it being described as “one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world”.
A recorded Tamil literature has been documented for over 2,000 years. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from 300 BC – AD 300.