Fellowships in memory of Irish linguist



As per news, University of Madras will offer three fellowship from this year in honour of Irish missionary and Linguist Robert Caldwell

For this, The University held a meeting to commemorate the 200th birth anniversary of the scholar who established that south Indian languages had roots in Tamil and not Sanskrit.

Two fellowships will be given to students of language and literature department and one for Thirukkural department says vice-chancellor of the University, R Thandavan.

  • Robert Caldwell came to Chennai (then Madras) in 1838 as a missionary and fell in love with the beauty of the Tamil language and started to spread the language.
  • He wrote seven books including ‘A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family Languages’ in 1856 and ‘A Political and General History of Tinnevely’ in 1881. These two works are considered masterpieces.
  • He died on August 28, 1891, and as per his wishes, was buried in a temple he built at Idaiyankudi near Tirunelveli.
  • Caldwell’s book on south Indian languages was historic because it was one of the first to focus on the Tamil language.
  • Before Caldwell proved his theory and coined the term ‘Dravidian’, most linguists had said that south Indian languages were derived from Sanskrit.
  • A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Family Languages’ was just a year older than the University of Madras. “Caldwell addressed the convocation at the university in 1879,

              The state government has decided to observe the birthday and a revised edition of his work with a comparative grammar is expected to come.


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