The local language is Tamil which is thought to be one of the oldest languages that is still spoken today. This ancient language has lent its name to the state and to the people that speak it.

Tamil is nothing like India’s defacto official language of Hindi, which causes some problems because people from the north of India can’t understand Tamil and people in the south can’t understand Hindi.

Since India has so many regional languages, the link language for everyone is English. Business is done in English, the main news channels and national newspapers are in English, the road signs are in English, magazines are in English and bookstores are filled with the latest English bestsellers.

The more educated people will all be comfortable with English as a second language, or in some cases as a first language. Labourers, or people who grew up outside the city and left school in their early teens, might have a challenge communicating in English though.

Got any questions about the language in Chennai? Leave your comments using the form below.

Read about working in Chennai >>