Having been spoken in southern India for millennia, Tamil is a language with long and rich literary tradition. It has 48 million native speakers, some 90% of which live in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It has been estimated that those who speak Tamil as a second-language in the southern parts of the Indian subcontinent number in the millions. There are also 4 million speakers of Tamil in northern Sri Lanka representing about 20% of its population. Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa each boast over 100,000 speakers while even the island of Fiji can claim about 5,000. With origins independent of Sanskrit (which serves as the basis for most Indian languages), Tamil has a distinct pronunciation not found in any other language. The earliest evidence of the Tamil language are inscriptions dating to 200 BC. The oldest known book written in Tamil is Tolkaappiyam.