Spoken by eighty million people, Tamil is one of the great world languages, and one of the few ancient languages that survives as a mother tongue. David Shulman presents a comprehensive cultural history of Tamil, emphasizing how its speakers and poets have understood the unique features of their language over its long history.
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A. K. Ramanujan Agastya akam ancient anthologies Arumuka Navalar bhakti Brahmin Buddhist Caminat’aiyar canon century Chapter Chola classical clearly colophons commentary composed court cultural diglossia domain Dravidian Dravidian languages early early-modern erudite example genre goddess Grammar of Stolen historical Ibid in-ness inscriptions Jain Kamban Kannada Kaveri Kerala king later linguistic linked Madurai Malayalam Maṇi-pravāḷam meaning medieval metrical mode modern Tamil musical Nammāḻvār Narayana Rao narrative notion Ŏṭṭakkūttar Pallava palm leaf Pandya Perāciriyar perhaps period Pillai poet poet’s poetic Prakrit puṟam Rāma recitation royal Śaiva Sangam corpus Sangam poems scholars sense Shulman Śiva south Indian speak speakers speech Stolen Love story sūtras syllables Tamil and Sanskrit Tamil country Tamil language Tamil literary Tamil Nadu Tamil poetry Tamil prose Tanjavur Tantric tells Telugu temple Tenkasi Tevāram textual theme tion Tirukkuṟaḷ Töl Tŏlkāppiyam tradition uyir Vaishṇava Vedic verse Vishṇu Wilden words Zvelebil