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TA MUL, OR TA MI L.
SPECIMEN, FROM ST. JOHN, CHAP. I. v. 1 to 12. 1 Athiyilē vārttei yirundathu. Avvārttei Parābaranidattil irundathu. Allāmalum avvārtteiyē Parābaran. 2 Athu āthiyilē Parābaranidattil irundathu. . Sagalamum athinalē yundayittu. Athu villāmal oru siruttium undagavillei. Athilē sivan undayirundathu. * Anda chīvan manithanudeiya oliyāyirundathu. 5 Anda oļi yiruļilē pirugāsamayittu. Iruļānathu athei pattikkollavillei. 6 Yövān ennum oru manithan Pārabaranāl anuppappattu. * Tannālē yellārum visuvāsikkum padikku anda oliyeik-kurittu chātchi kodukka vandān. 8 Avan anda oļi yalla anda oliyeik-kurittu chāțchik-kodukkavē vandān. Meyyāna oliyānavar ulagattilē varugira manithar yāvareiyum piragāsippikkirār. 10 Avar ulagattil irundār Allāmalum ulagam avarālē yundāyittu. ulagam avarei ariavillei.
11 Avar tamathu sondattit chērndār. Avarukku chondamānavargal avarei yēttukkolļavillei. 12 Avarudeiya nāmattin mēl visuvāsamay avarei yēttukkoņdaverga! ettanei pērgalo attanei pērgalukku Parābaranudeiya pilleigal ayirukkum padi athigāran koduttirukkirār.
1.-GEOGRAPHICAL EXTENT AND STATISTICS. TAMUL, the language of the ancient kingdom of Dravira, is spoken in the extensive country now called the Carnatic, and is the vernacular language from the town of Pulicat in the north to Cape Comorin in the south, and from the shores of the Indian Oceap on the east to the Ghauts on the west. This important territory, which since 1801 has been entirely under British government, includes Madras, Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Madura, Tinnevelly, and Coimbatore. The inhabitants have been estimated at upwards of six millions and a half; they are chiefly Hindoos of the Brahminical sect, and there are comparatively few Mohammedans among them. The Tamul language also obtains along the whole northern coast of Ceylon, including the populous district of Jaffna, where it is spoken by a race of people sometimes called the Malabars. Tamul is likewise the vernacular language of the Moormen of Ceylon; they are dispersed in great numbers through every part of the island, especially at Colombo, and are supposed to be the descendants of Arabs, who, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, conquered several of the seaport towns of India and Ceylon.
II.-CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LANGUAGE. It is a question of the highest historical interest whether Tamul and the other languages of the Deccan are to be considered as the daughters of the Sanscrit, or whether their origin is to be traced to some other source. Drs. Carey and Wilkins considered them to be undoubtedly derived from the Sanscrit, and Colebrooke was inclined to adopt the saine opinion. Mr. Ellis, in the Preface to Campbell's Teloogoo Grammar, was the first to doubt their supposed relationship to Sanscrit; and Babington, in his Introductory Remarks to the Gooroo Paramartan, has maintained the same view of the case. The various researches which have been made into the subject have at length led to the conclusion that these southern languages are the remnants of some ancient tongue, which at a very remote period of antiquity probably pervaded the whole of India, as some slight traces of it are yet to be met with even in the Sanscrit dialects of the north. But whether this hypothesis be correct or not, it has been satisfactorily proved that Tamul and its cognate languages derive their source from no language at present in existence; and if in most systems of classification they have obtained a place
among the Sanscrit family of languages, they owe their position not to their origin, but to the modification of their elementary structure induced by the superposition of Sanscrit forms; a process which has been carried on for centuries, dating from the period when the natives of the south received the religion of the north, and bowed to the domination of the Brahminical sect. Tamul, however, possesses fewer Sanscrit terms than the other languages of the Deccan. They exist in Tamul, in the same manner and proportion as Greek and Latin terms are mixed up with the Anglo-Saxon element in English. It has two distinct dialects, the Kodun, or common dialect, which contains the greatest admixture of Sanscrit words; and the Shen, or polished dialect, which, from its long disuse as a colloquial medium, has been preserved in a state of greater purity. A knowledge of the former alone is quite sufficient for all ordinary intercourse with the natives, but acquaintance with the high, or Shen, dialect is necessary for those who wish to study Tamul literature and science.
The chief peculiarities of the Tamul language as briefly summed up by Anderson, consist in the absence of a relative pronoun, in the small proportion of adjectives and particles properly so called, in the power of employing adjectives in an adverbial capacity, in the exact correspondence in termination between the demonstrative pronouns and the third person of verbs, in the existence of a negative verb, and, above all, in the conjugation of derivative nouns. Some of those characteristics are to be met with in the Telinga, Canarese, and Malayalim languages; but in the possession of a conjugate derivative, Tamul appears to stand quite alone. This singular grammatical form seems to have arisen from a remarkable interchange of the properties peculiar to different parts of speech, for as in other languages, as well as in Tamul, verbal nouns are liable to be inflected as substantives, so the derivatives of nouns are liable in Tamul to be conjugated as verbs. Tamul nouns have eight cases, three of which are ablative, and are distinguished as local, causal, and social ablatives. Words performing the office of prepositions in this language always stand after the nouns or pronouns which they govern. The verbs possess properly but three moods, the indicative, imperative, and infinitive; and the third person of each tense denotes the changes of gender by corresponding changes of termination. The negative verb, which in Tamul and its cognate languages conveys a negative signification without the aid of particles, is formed by the mere removal (except in the third person neuter and its derivatives of the usual characteristic augments of the affirmative.
A Tamul alphabet, which, like the Greek, consisted of sixteen letters, is said to have been in use among the natives of the country before the introduction of the Sanscrit language. The characters now employed in writing Tamul are thirty in number, and are evidently, so far at least as form is concerned, for the most part derived from the Devanagari. The order in which they are arranged is similar to that of the Sanscrit alphabet, and even letters representing sounds which do not occur in Sanscrit, are formed by the combination of Devanagari characters. All aspirates are rejected from the Tamul alphabet, and the language is, for that reason, soft and well sounding; though not so much so as the Teloogoo.
III.-VERSIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES IN THIS LANGUAGE. The honour of executing the first Tamul version of the Scriptures belongs to the Danish missionaries. Ziegenbalg, the first missionary sent by the Danish Government to their settlement at Tranquebar, commenced the translation of the New Testament in 1708, and completed it in 1711. The printing of this version was delayed in order that it might receive the benefit of a thorough revisal, and this important task was committed to the missionary John Ernest Grundler, who had arrived in India soon after the commencement of the translation. Under his care the work was printed at Tranquebar in 1714, at the press and on paper provided by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. His Majesty George I. of England took an especial interest in the progress of this version, and addressed a letter to Ziegenbalg. The translation of the Old Testament was commenced by this devoted missionary in 1717, and in 1719, he had carried it as far as the Book of Ruth, when he sank beneath the weight of his manifold labours, at the age of thirty-six. It is not certain whether his
translations were executed immediately from the sacred originals, or from the German version of Luther. After his decease, and that of his fellow-labourer Grundler, which occurred during the following year, the revision of his manuscripts and the prosecution of the version of the Old Testament devolved on Benjamin Schultze, a missionary who had arrived from Halle a short time previously, under the patronage of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Schultze published the portion of the Old Testament translated by Ziegenbalg in 1723, and completed the version in 1727. He was well acquainted with Hebrew, and is said to have consulted most of the European versions in the course of his translation. Such was his indefatigable zeal, that in the midst of important missionary duties, and in the relaxing climate of Southern India, he regularly devoted six hours daily to the prosecution of his work. He likewise addressed himself to a diligent revision of the New Testament, a second edition of which he put to press in 1722, and completed in 1724, at Tranquebar. In 1758
third edition of the New Testament was printed at the same place; it had previously been subjected to another revision, in which several missionaries took a part. The second Tranquebar edition was reprinted at Colombo in 1741-3, after having undergone some alterations adapting it to the Tamul spoken in Ceylon: this edition was designed for the native Tamulian Christians in that island, and was published under the auspices of Von Imhoff, the governor.
In 1777 an important version of the New Testament was published by the Rev. J. P. Fabricius, one of Schultze's successors in the Danish mission at Madras. This version is far more elegant and classical in diction than that of the Tranquebar translators. Fabricius likewise undertook the revision of Schultze's version of the Old Testament, preparatory to a second edition; but the work as revised by him has every claim to be considered a new and independent version. He sent the translation, sheet by sheet, for examination and correction to the missionaries at Cuddalore; from them it passed to the Danish missionaries, and from them to the native translator to the Danish Government. The notes and corrections thus obtained were carefully collated by Fabricius, and the whole translation was again subjected by him to a searching revision. It was printed at the mission press at Tranquebar between the years 1777 and 1782, under the especial care of two missionaries, one of whom was Dr. Rottler. Fabricius was esteemed an“ unparalleled Tamul scholar," and his translation long held the rank of the standard Tamul version of the Scriptures.
The editions of the two versions of the New Testament above mentioned, printed by the Danish missionaries prior to the commencement of the present century, amount in all to fourteen, besides two versions of the Old Testament. They were assisted by grants of paper and other supplies from the Royal College of Copenhagen, the Orphan House at Halle, and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Still the number of copies issued was very far from being adequate to the wants of the native Christians; and the deplorable scarcity of the Scriptures in the Tamul country was first pressed upon the notice of the British and Foreign Bible Society in a letter from the Rev. Dr. Buchanan, dated Madura, 1806. Dr. Buchanan stated that of the ten or twelve thousand Protestant Christians then belonging to the Tanjore and Tinnevelly districts, not one perhaps in a hundred had a New Testament; and he described the people in general as “clamorous for Bibles, supplicating for teachers, and saying, “ we do not want bread or money from you, but we want the word of God.'” In consequence of these and other similar representations, the Corresponding Committee at Calcutta raised a subscription for the purchase of all the copies of the Tamul Scriptures which could be then obtained, and which bore a price placing them beyond the reach of the poorer Christians. These copies reached Tanjore in 1810, where they were received with the most lively gratitude; and the supply was acknowledged "not only as a seasonable and acceptable present, but as the cause of abundant thanksgiving to God through Jesus Christ our Saviour, from many who were desirous to know the saving truths which the Bible contains, and to use it for the benefit of their souls.” Arrangements were then made by the British and Foreign Bible Society for the publication of another edition, and after due inquiries had been instituted, it was deemed advisable to print it at the Serampore press, from the admired text of Fabricius. Notwithstanding the disastrous fire in which the Tamul fount of types and a large supply of paper were destroyed, the edition, consisting of 5000 copies, was completed by the Serampore missionaries in 1813.
As a great demand for the Scriptures still continued throughout the Tamul country even after the circulation of this large edition, it seemed necessary to take immediate measures for issuing farther supplies. The want of copies of the Scriptures appeared to be particularly felt at Ceylon, where the number of native Christians speaking the Tamul language was estimated at 45,000. Besides the edition of the New Testament published at Colombo in 1743, as above mentioned, a version of the Pentateuch, translated by Mr. de Milho, had also been printed in Ceylon, under the patronage of the Dutch Government, in 1790. These editions, however, had been long exhausted, and the people in general were almost destitute of the Scriptures. It was, therefore, deemed advisable not only to issue another edition, but also to obtain such a revision of the existing version as might render it intelligible to the Tamul population of Ceylon and of the adjacent continent. This important revision was committed to the Rev. C. T. E. Rhenius of the Church Mission, subject to the superintendence of the Rev. Dr. Rottler (who had formerly assisted in carrying the version of Fabricius through the press), and the inspection of the missionaries at Trichinopoly, Tanjore, and Tranquebar. To secure the greater accuracy of the work, a committee of translation was appointed at Madras in 1821,
, and great hopes were entertained of the success of a version carried forward under such efficient management, and in the midst of the Tamul country. In order, however, to meet the actual demand for the Scriptures, it was found requisite, while the revision was in progress, to issue another edition from the text of Fabricius. This edition appears to have consisted of 1000 copies of the Old Testament, 2500 of the New Testament, and 2500 extra copies of the Gospels and Acts: the Old Testament was printed at the Vepery press of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the New Testament at the Church Missionary Society's press at Madras; the edition was completed about the year 1824. In 1825 the revision of the Gospel of St. Matthew was finished, and an edition of 10,000 copies was published by the Madras Committee. The following year another edition of the Old Testament from the text of the Tranquebar translators was commenced: it consisted of 5000 copies of the Pentateuch, and 2500 of the other books of the Old Testament, and appears to have been completed about the year
1832. In the meantime the revision of the old version under the care of Mr. Rhenius was rapidly proceeding, and in 1827 an edition of 5000 copies of the New Testament was put to press. In 1828 the Four Gospels were completed, and so rapid was the circulation, that another edition of 5000 copies was immediately ordered, and the part of the New Testament containing the Epistles was extended to 7500 copies.
Yet, notwithstanding these large issues, the desire of the native population to receive the Tamul Scriptures more than kept pace with the ability of the committee to supply them; and it was found that before the last books of an edition could be got from the press, nearly all the first books had been distributed, so that it appeared almost impossible to issue one complete and uniform copy of the Tamul Old and New Testaments. The Madras Committee, therefore, determined in 1831 to print 12,000 copies of the Tamul New Testament in small type. This edition was afterwards extended to 15,000, and the revised version was selected as the text on account of the numerous testimonies that had been laid before the committee in proof of its superiority over the version of Fabricius. To expedite the revision and publication of the entire Tamul Scriptures, two additional sub-committees of revision were formed about this period, (the one at Tanjore, and the other at Nagracoil and Palamcottah,) consisting of Churchmen, Wesleyans, Lutherans, and Dissenters of various denominations, who all agreed to set aside party distinctions, in order to promote the publication of the word of truth. In 1844 an edition of 6000 copies of the entire Tamul Bible was completed. The Old Testament was the version of Fabricius, corrected as to grammar and orthography; and the New, that of Rhenius: it contained the headings of chapters and the chronology from the English. In printing this edition the Madras Society was assisted by funds from the American Bible Society, and by supplies of paper from the British and Foreign Bible Society. During the same year (1844) 10,000 copies of each of the Four Gospels in 18mo., Fabricius's version, were ordered to be printed at the press of the Christian Knowledge Society, Vepery; and the same number and size of the revised version at the American Mission press, for the use of schools. Other portions of Scripture were printed at about the same period at the Neypoor press, for the use of schools in Tinnevelly and Travancore, and for the purposes of public worship
A second edition of the uniform Tamul Bible, with headings and chronology from the English, and references from the German version, was completed in 1848. The edition consisted of 6000 copies, and the demand for it was at once considerable. Among other portions of Scripture recently printed under the auspices of the British and Foreign Bible Society, it may be noticed that an edition of 3000 copies of the New Testament in 12mo. has been published, according to rules proposed by a Tamul sub-committee of revision, for separating the words in printing, and in many cases omitting the usual changes, reduplication, and elision of letters required by the law of Sandhi in the high dialect. Another edition of the New Testament, printed from the version of Rhenius at Neypoor, has since been issued, for the use of the large and increasing native church in that section of the Tamul country; together with several large editions of portions of the New Testament, from the same version.
It remains to notice another version of the Tamul Scriptures which has more recently been completed in Ceylon, and which is known as the “Union Version.” The chief agent in its production was the Rev. P. Percival, who was engaged for a period of fourteen years in that arduous task, devoting six hours daily to it: valuable help was furnished by the Reverends Messrs. Spalding, Winslow, and Brotherton. Great, however, as had been the care bestowed upon its execution, it was determined that the first edition of the “Union Version” should be regarded only as a trial, with a view to obtain the opinions of Tamul scholars as to its merits, and the number of copies was accordingly limited to 3500. High praise has been bestowed upon this version with regard to its idiom, correctness, neatness of style, and its general fidelity to the original; it has, nevertheless, been generally regarded as deficient in common with prior versions) in some of the qualities necessary to a standard version of the Tamul Scriptures. The complete revision of the Tamul Bible, with a view to the preparation (from the two translations of the Old Testament, and the three versions of the New, that are already in existence) of an edition which may be finally regarded as a standard authority, has occupied during several years the anxious care of the Madras Auxiliary Society; and a recent engagement has been made between the Parent Committee of the Bible Society, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, by which this desirable object seems likely to be accomplished. The Rev. H. Bower has undertaken to conduct the task of revision; the work being in the first instance limited to the New Testament only, with a view to obtain a general opinion of the merits of the revised version thus formed, before incurring the large outlay which the like revision of the Old Testament will involve. The work, on this plan, is now (1860) in progress.
IV.-RESULTS OF THE DISSEMINATION OF THIS VERSION.
As the Tamul was the first language of India in which the Gospel was proclaimed by Protestant missionaries to the natives, and the first into which the Scriptures were translated for their benefit, so it has been observed that, “ for spiritual privileges, for missionary zeal and enterprise, for the light and liberty which prevail, the Tamul country may well be called the Goshen of India.” The rapid circulation of so many large editions of the Scriptures, as above described, is in itself a proof of the alacrity with which the natives have received the word of God; and individual instances, in proof that the precious seed thus gladly welcomed was owned and blessed of God, are to be found in great numbers in missionary records, and in the reports of the Bible Society. Let one example here suffice. Shunkuru-Lingum was born at Quilon, about 1787, of heathen parents, of the Vellaula or Cultivator caste. After several changes in his temporal circumstances and position, he entered the service of a gentleman holding a civil appointment under the Ceylon government. An apparently trivial circumstance was the turning-point of his life. Under a tree of the forest he found a copy of the Gospels in Tamul,