Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Books on Tamil, printing efforts in 18th century

Documented history refers to Vocabulario Tamulico com a significa am Portugueza compiled by Antão da Proença printed in Goa in 1679 as the oldest Tamizh–Portuguese dictionary. Constanzo Giuseppe Beschi (Viramãmunivar; Constantine Joseph Beschi 1680–1747) also compiled the Tamizh–Latin, Latin–Tamizh–Portuguese, and Tamizh–French dictionaries.

The key contribution of Beschi was the Tamizh–Tamizh çatur-agarãti (a four-way lexicon), which included words, synonyms, categories of words, and rhymes. Beschi’s çatur-agarãti was constructed on a mixed design: the general layout was similar to that of a Tamizh nikandu, whereas the contents conformed to the style followed in European language dictionaries, viz., alphabetization and in prose style. Due to various reasons, Beschi’s çatur-agarãti remained a manuscript until 1824, after which it underwent several printed editions.

Because Tamizh was the first south-Asian language to develop printing capability, Madras commenced printing of books earlier than the other three major Indian cities.

Full report here Express Buzz

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