Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu state and one of the 18 languages mentioned in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution. Tamil is one of the classical languages of the world, with a rich heritage of literature. It is the most widely spoken language in Tamil Nadu. Besides Tamil Nadu, Tamil is also spoken by a number of people in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mauritius and Malaysia. The antiquity of Tamil is comparable to Sanskrit. Tamil is written in a derivative of the southern 'Brahmi' script. The alphabet of Tamil is unique (phonetic). That is, in Tamil language letters represent sounds, rather than ideas, as is the case in the 'Mandarin' language of China.
Tamil is spoken by most of the people while around ten percent of the
people residing in Tamil Nadu speak Telugu. Other languages that are
popular in the state are Kannada, Urdu and Malayalam (though they are
spoken by much smaller percentage). The influence of the Malayalam
language is more prominent in the west while people residing mostly in
the North Eastern part, bordering Karnataka, speak Kannada. Besides the
above-mentioned languages, English is also spoken as a subsidiary
language in Tamil Nadu.