Difference Between Kannada and Tamil

There are 22 national languages listed in the constitution of the republic of India. India is one of the most diverse nations of the world, with more than 1,900 languages spoken as a mother tongue in India.


Education Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to education

1 / 10

Which of the following books is written by William Golding?

2 / 10

When should a teacher and a pupil hold a case conference?

3 / 10

First step in measurement is:

4 / 10

What is the main purpose of a thesis statement in an essay?

5 / 10

Who invented the printing press?

6 / 10

Which of the following is NOT a type of writing?

7 / 10

Who is the author of the famous novel "Pride and Prejudice"?

8 / 10

What is the basic unit of life?

9 / 10

Who wrote the novel "Great Expectations"?

10 / 10

What is the name of the standardized test used for college admissions in the United States?

Your score is


Two officially listed languages that have descended from the Dravidian family language is kannada and tamil. Like all the other languages these two languages are also unique in their respective forms and have very districts characteristics, yet these two languages are widely confused by all.

Key Takeaways

  1. Kannada and Tamil are distinct Dravidian languages spoken in India; Kannada is primarily spoken in Karnataka, while Tamil is spoken in Tamil Nadu.
  2. Kannada script, derived from Brahmi script, has angular shapes; Tamil script, also Brahmi-derived, features rounded shapes.
  3. Kannada and Tamil literature have unique traditions, with famous works like Jaimini Bharata (Kannada) and Silappatikaram (Tamil).

Kannada vs Tamil

The difference between kannada and tamil is that kannada is majorly spoken in the state of Karnataka whereas tamil is majorly spoken in the state of Tamil Nadu. The people who speak kannada are known as kannadigas whereas the people who speak tamil are known as tamilians or dravidians.

Kannada vs Tamil

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!

Kannada is the official language for the people of India in the state of Karnataka. It is a south dravidian language. It is one of the most popular languages in India and spoken by almost 43 million people natively worldwide.

The alphabets of kannada script have been develop from the chalukya and kadamba script.

Tamil is also an official language for the people of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was the first official language of India to be listed and declared as a classical language by the government of India.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonKannadaTamil
Spoken by43 million people worldwide70 million people worldwide
Official LanguageIt is the official language of KarnatakaIt is the official language of Tamil Nadu
ScriptIt was originated from the kannada scriptIt was originated from the tamil script
InfluencedIt is influenced from pali and prakrit languagesIt is influenced closer too malayalam
PeopleThe people who speak kannada language are known as kannadigasThe people who speak the tamil language are known as tamilians or dravidians

What is Kannada?

Kannada unpopularly is also known as kanarese is a south Dravidian language. It is one of the major dravidian languages. It is an official language in India and spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka.

Although it is also spoken in several linguistic minority states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, Kerala, and Goa. The people who speak the kannada language are known as kannadigas (kannadigaru).

Almost 43 million people natively speak in kannada. It is also spoken as a second or third language by more than a 12.9million people, adding up to 56.9 million kannada speakers worldwide.

Kannada earlier was the court language in several powerful empires in the south and central India namely- chalukya dynasty, the rashtrakuta dynasty, the vijayanagara empire, and the hoysala empire.

The alphabets of the kannada language was developed from the kannada script, which had evolved from the 5th-century kadamba script.

On the recommendation of the committee of linguistic experts which was appointed by the ministry of culture, the government of India declared kannada as the classical language of India.

The influence of prakrit and pail can also be noticed in kannada. Spoken kannada widely varies from region to region whereas the written form of kannada is less consistent all over Karnataka. According to ethnology reports, there are almost 20 dialects of kannada.


What is Tamil?

Tamil is a dravidian language, majorly spoken by tamilians, the people who reside in Tamil Nadu, a state in India. It is also an official language of the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu along with Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Tamil is one of the 22 scheduled languages in the constitution of India. It was the first one to be classified as a classical language of Indian in 2004, and also one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world.

Accounts of tamil literature have been documented for a little over 2000 years. The snagam literature (earlier period of tamil literature) dated from ca. 300BC – AD3000. Tamil is a part of the southern branch of the dravidian language, which is a family of 26 languages native to Indian subcontinents.

The language that is considered as the closest to tamil is Malayalam, the two diverged around the 9th century AD. Among all the Indian languages tamil has the most ancient non-sanskrit Indian literature. According to the hindu legend tamil was created by Lord Shiva.


Main Differences Between Kannada and Tamil

  1. The kannada language is spoken by 43 million people as their native language and as a second or third language kannada is spoken by 12.9 million people. Whereas tamil is spoke by 70 million people natively and as a second or third language by 8 million people.
  2. Kannada is the official language of the state of Karnataka in India whereas tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu another southern state of India.
  3. Kannada was originated from the kannada script and tamil was originated from the tamil script.
  4. The kannada language is influenced by the language pali and prakrit however, the tamil language is more influenced by malayalam.
  5. The people who speak kannada as their native language are referred to as kannadigas whereas the people who speak tamil as their native language which is a huge proportion are known a tamilians or dravidians.
  1. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED184379
  2. https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/ijsl.1978.issue-16/ijsl.1978.16.109/ijsl.1978.16.109.xml
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=OQ33i496MsIC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=tamil&ots=BOHy6_3gtL&sig=_k7F9fzNM9a9jdWj9Sn-oS5ueH4
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *