Introduction to the Dravidian Languages

Authored by: Sanford B. Steever

The Dravidian Languages

Print publication date:  December  1997
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415100236
eBook ISBN: 9780203424353
Adobe ISBN: 9781136911644

10.4324/9780203424353.ch1

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Abstract

The Dravidian language family is, in terms of speakers, the fourth or fifth largest in the world. The family comprises at least twenty-three languages spoken primarily in South Asia by as many as 220 million people. The majority of the Dravidian languages are concentrated in southern and central India, spreading south from the Vindhya Mountains across the Deccan Plateau all the way to Cape Cormorin. Elsewhere, they are spoken in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Outside South Asia, the Dravidian languages, particularly Tamil, are also spoken in Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Martinique, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, South Africa and Trinidad.

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