Click on image above to enlarge

"A fine example of Tamil grammatical knowledge"

Anderson, Robert Rudiments of Tamul Grammar: combining with the rules of Kodun Tamul, or the ordinary dialect, an introduction to Shen Tamul, or the elegant dialect of the language. London printed for J.M. Richardson 1821
First edition. Small 4to, 24 x 19 cm; pp.[iii]-xx, 184; large, linen-backed folding chart. Contemporary blind-ruled calf; rebacked, a few marks to boards, corners worn; lacks half-title; internally, a crisp clean copy. Initial blank inscribed "James Cumming Esq / With the Author's Kind Regards", blindstamp of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

The first work to combine a grammar of everyday colloquial ('low') Tamil and an introduction to literary ('high') Tamil, prepared for the use of students at the East India Company's Haileybury College destined for the Madras Presidency. Copies were also sent to Madras for the similar use of students at the College of Fort St. George. Anderson served at Madras until 1819, when his health required him to return to England, where he was appointed to the faculty of Haileybury College, which seems to have provided the impetus for this work. Anderson's grammar is arranged after Alexander Duncan Campbell's Telugu grammar (Madras, 1816), but his primary sources were the works of the Jesuit missionary Joseph Beschi, three of which were supplied were by Anderson's friend and fellow Madras civil servant, Benjamin Babington. These comprised an English translation of Beschi's grammar of Kodun Tamil, together with manuscript copies of his Shen Tamil grammar and Clavis humaniorum literarum sublimioris Tamulici idiomatis. Beschi's work circulated from the first half of the eighteenth century and was an enduring influence on the European study of Tamil, though Anderson's grammar represents a substantial body of revision and further work. However, like Beschi, Anderson incorporated indigenous Tamil grammatical concepts, which drew criticism in subsequent decades, though it now appears a sensitive and accomplished synthesis of Western and indigenous grammar.