Classical Languages

In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that met certain requirements could be accorded the status of a “Classical Language in India”. Languages so far declared to be Classical are Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Odia.
Criteria to determine the eligibility of languages to be considered for classification as a “Classical Language”:
  1. High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500–2000 years.
  2. A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
  3. The literary tradition should be original and not borrowed from another speech community.
  4. The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

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