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“Engineering colleges should have Tamil scholars”

Staff Reporter

It will boost computational linguistics, says Anandakrishnan

— Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

(From left): K. Ramasamy, officer-in-charge, Centre for Research on Tamil Classical Language; P.T. Sabapathi Mohan, Vice-Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University; M. Anandakrishnan, chairman, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur; S. Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras; M. Rajendran, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil University, Thanjavur; M.S. Victor, Tamil scholar; and Jegath Gaspar Raj, chairman, Naller Publications at the book release function in Chennai on Friday.

CHENNAI: Engineering colleges should have Tamil scholars so that the field of computational linguistics gets a boost, said M. Anandakrishnan, chairman, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Owing to the lack of Tamil expertise, even though 50,000 theses are produced in engineering colleges, not even 50 of them relate to Tamil, he said.

He was speaking at the launch of ‘Naller Publications’ organised by Tamil Maiyam, a not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting Tamil art, literature and culture, here on Friday. Apart from linguistic research, the publication would focus on social and political research, said Jegath Gaspar Raj, chairman, Naller Publications.

During the launch, 20 books authored by M.S. Victor, a Tamil scholar, were released. These books dealt with Mr. Victor’s research on the similarities between Tamil and western languages, and included titles such as ‘Tamil and Hebrew’ and ‘The Babylonian Tamizh.’

Mr. Anandakrishnan described Mr. Victor’s books as a combination of historic linguistics, social linguistics and comparative linguistics. He said that the books did present a form of research, as Mr. Victor had proposed certain hypotheses and supported them with different sources.

K. Ramasamy, officer-in-charge, Centre for Research on Tamil Classical Language, said that Mr. Victor’s books presented ideas that needed to be pondered over. He said that they had to be refined further adopting scientific rigour. The relationship between Tamil and other languages had to be established through “regularity of phonological changes,” he said, adding that if such a method is not adopted, the relations could be deemed as “accidental similarities.”

Support to conferences

Mr. Ramasamy said that the centre would provide the support necessary to hold conferences where the ideas presented in the books could be debated. He added that the books needed to be translated into English to reach out to a wider audience, and the centre would support in such initiatives too.

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