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The languages of southern India make up the Dravidian family. Speakers of Dravidian languages also group together in parts of India where northern languages predominate. About 250 million of India's people speak Dravidian languages.

Dravidian languages form a group by themselves, and unlike the Aryan, Austric or Sino-Tibetan speeches, have no relation outside the Indian subcontinent, that is, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Dravidian family is the second largest group in India, covering about 25% of the total Indian population. It can be split into three branches in the Indian subcontinent -

  1. The northern branch comprising Brahui spoken in Baluchistan and Kurukh and Malto spoken in Bengal and Orissa.
  2. The second branch is composed of Telugu and a number of dialects spoken in Central India.
  3. The southern branch is made up of Tamil, Kannada, Malayalama, Tulu, Badaga, Toda, Kota and Kodagu.

The outstanding languages of the Dravidian group are:

  1. Telugu, the state language of Andhra Pradesh, numerically the biggest of the Dravidian languages.
  2. Tamil, the state language of Tamil Nadu, apparently the oldest and the purest branch of the Dravidian family.
  3. Kannada (also called Canarese), the state language of Karnataka, another ancient Dravidian language that has developed individually.
  4. Malayalam, the state language of Kerala, the smallest and the youngest of the Dravidian family.

    The Dravidian languages form a completely separate group from the Indo-European languages, although they too have borrowed many words from Sanskrit. The four main Dravidian languages i.e. Tamil, Telugu, Kannada , and Malayalam are four of India's official languages. Dravidians have lived in the area for at least 4,500 years, and Dravidian languages have a recorded history of more than 2,000 years. Speakers of Dravidian languages feel a strong sense of cultural unity.

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