Sri Lankan Tamil dialects

Sri Lankan Tamil Dialects

Sri Lankan Tamil dialects

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The Sri Lankan Tamil dialects or Ceylon Tamil dialects form a group of Tamil dialects used in the modern country of Sri Lanka by Sri Lankan Tamils that is distinct from the dialects of modern Tamil spoken in Tamil Nadu and Kerala states of India. Tamil dialects are differentiated by the phonological changes and sound shifts in their evolution from classical or old Tamil (300 BC - 700 CE). It is broadly categorized into three sub groups;Jaffna Tamil, Batticaloa Tamil, and Negombo Tamil dialects. These dialects are also used by ethnic groups other than Tamils such as Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Moors and Veddhas who consider them to be distinct.


As Tamil is a diglossic language the differences between the standard written languages across the globe is minimal but the spoken varieties differ considerably. The spoken varieties in Sri Lanka although different from those of Tamil Nadu share some common features between the southern dialects of Tamil Nadu and the northern Sri Lankan Tamil dialect, the language of Jaffna. Sri Lankan Tamil dialects retain many words and grammatical forms that are not in everyday use in India,Thomas Lehmann, "Old Tamil" in Sanford Steever (ed.), The Dravidian Languages Routledge, 1998 at p. 75; E. Annamalai and S. Steever, "Modern Tamil" in ibid. at pp. 100-128.Kamil Zvelebil, "Some features of Ceylon Tamil"......
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