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      The Pesky Ablative: Early European Missionaries’ Treatment of Tamil ‘Ablatives’

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      Journal of Portuguese Linguistics

      Ubiquity Press

      Missionary grammars, Tamil grammar, India, Tamil cases, ablative

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          Abstract

          In their efforts to create accessible pedagogical grammars of Tamil, early missionaries applied the reference model of Latin and Portuguese grammars and other missioners’ works to the nominal and verbal paradigms they constructed of the language. In so doing, they met with difficulties in formulating the terminology to express the phenomena they encountered. For example, the early missionary grammarians regularly classed several distinct Tamil terminations as ‘ablatives’, because the various senses of these are subsumed in Latin within one ablative case (itself historically derived from three Proto-Indo-European cases: separative ablative, comitative/instrumental, and inessive locative). Different configurations were proposed over the centuries, but, despite the emerging knowledge of the native Tamil grammatical tradition, which had long been influenced by Sanskrit declensional standards, always with a Latinate foundation. The missionaries’ grammars created among Europeans a perception of Tamil that its declensional patterning was akin to that of Latin, and that morphologically realised divergent senses are related because their equivalents in Latin are, readings which persist in many modern didactic descriptions.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Beschi, grammairien du tamoul, et l’origine de la notion de verbe appellative [The Tamil grammarian Beschi, and the origin of the concept of appellative verb]

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            Female education at Edeyenkoody

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              The “classical” construction of Tamil morphology in the eyes of the earliest European missionary grammarians

               G. JAMES (2011)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-5563
                Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-5563
                15 January 2019
                2019
                : 18
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Formerly of Language Centre, University of Exeter, GB
                Article
                10.5334/jpl.206
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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