A Grammar of the High Dialect of the Tamil Language, Termed Shen-Tamil
Published in 1822, but completed in manuscript form almost 100 years earlier, this work was designed to accompany Beschi's earlier Grammar of Common Tamil. While the latter enabled the student to speak the language, this reissue offers a way into reading Tamil's classical literature with its complexity of thought and technique. One of the earliest and most distinguished pioneers in the field of Tamil studies, C. G. Beschi (1680–1747) was a Jesuit missionary in Madura, as well as a translator and composer of Tamil poetry. Since this treatise was not previously formally printed, this translation by B. G. Babington (1794–1866), from the original Latin, is based on a collation of texts, transcriptions and copies. In his preface, Babington outlines errata and problems stemming from this process, and makes explanatory notes where necessary. The work nevertheless remains a groundbreaking study of an ancient and complex language by a sensitive and thorough scholar and a gifted translator.