Languages are classified according to tones, stress, pitch etc. What type is Tamil language?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a general-knowledge (trivia) question that shows no research effort. Sep 12, 2019 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


Tamil falls in the "none of the above" category, that is, it does not have stress, and it also does not have predictable or lexical stress (Arabic has predictable stress, English has lexical stress). Krishnamurti 2003 (The Dravidian Languages) holds that none of the Dravidian languages have stress (and none have been reputed to have tone).

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    Many agglutinative languages have very slight stress on the first syllable of every word. It's usual to find such languages to also be described as not having stress, probably as it's predictable, slight, and has no lexical or grammatical use. I do not know if Tamil is among them... A quick bit of Googling appears to show Tamil does have initial syllable stress but with some caveats. Most results were related to TTS (text to speech) research. Sep 12, 2019 at 9:40
  • Can a language be without stress in some form or other? Tamil does have stress and it is already noted in Krishnamurti (2003:59): "Very little has been written about stress and intonation. The following statement is typical: ‘Stress in Tamil is non-contrastive, and falls on the first syllable of a word. Andronov (1969: 33) says that ‘the place of a stressed syllable in aword is not fixed’ in Tamil and marks words differently, p´eyar ‘name’ vs. vir´al ‘finger’, ´avan vs. tam´ı.z. In that case, stress becomes phonemic, but there is little supporting evidence for such an analysis. "
    – PCH
    Apr 12, 2022 at 2:25

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