The Dravidian languages (sometimes called Dravidic) are a family of languages spoken by 250 million people, mainly in southern India, north-east Sri Lanka, and south-west Pakistan. Since the colonial era, there have been small but significant immigrant communities of speakers of those languages in Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and the United States.
- Initially, Emeneau was very confident of the Dravidian origin of the non-Sanskrit substratum in Vedic languages. However, later he publicly acknowledged that the Dravidian origins which he and Barrow had ascribed to most of the Rig Vedic substratum words were, in reality, largely conjectures and not empirical facts. In 1980, he stated that the words loaned from Dravidian into Indo-Aryan are 'in fact all merely suggestions'; 'all etymologies are in the last analysis unprovable'; and that such theories are 'acts of faith'. Emeneau conceded, 'It is clear that not all of Burrow's suggested borrowing from Dravidian will stand the test of his own principles.'
- Emeneau. Quoted from Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan, A. (2011). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines
- An example of a different interpretation of the common words shared by Tamil and Sanskrit is the refreshing 1979 observation of Franklin Southworth, a linguist from the University of Pennsylvania. According to his analysis: 'these two lists [Dravidian and Indo-Aryan] both seem to suggest a rather wide range of cultural contacts, and that they do not show the typical (or stereotypical) one-sided borrowing relationship expected in a colonial situation'. Southworth continued, 'No picture of technological, cultural or military dominance by either side emerges from an examination of these words'.
- Franklin Southworth, Quoted from Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan, A. (2011). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines
- Because the assumption of Mosaic ethnology was well established, it was important to secure both families of languages within that framework. Ellis claimed that Tamil is connected with Hebrew and also with ancient Arabic. Their logic was that since William Jones considered Sanskrit to be the language of Ham, and other scholars claimed that Sanskrit descended from Noah's oldest son, Japheth, by the process of elimination the remaining son of Noah, Shem, must be the ancestor of the Dravidian people. This made Dravidians a branch of the Scythians or in the same family as Jews.
- Malhotra, R., Nīlakantan, A. (2011). Breaking India: Western interventions in Dravidian and Dalit faultlines