Tamil At first glance, Tamil, a Dravidian language spoken by more than seventy million people in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore, appears to be largely devoid of loanwords from Arabic, especially if compared to other South Asian languages. Even with reference to Muslim religious practice, Tamil words often replace Arabic ones, such as Tamil toḻukai instead of Arabic ṣalāt. Nevertheless, Arabic words are used by Tamil-speaking Muslims in both everyday conversation and Islamic literary texts dating back to the 16th century, and even among non-Muslims, Arabic terms can be found in administrative and nautical vocabulary.

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