Cankam Project

  • Search for, Identification of and Digitisation of Cankam Manuscripts
  • Preparation of critical editions and annotated translations of the Cankam texts
  • Composition of an Electronic Dictionary of the Cankam Literature

(Project management Eva Wilden, EFEO Paris/University of Hamburg and Jean-Luc Chevillard, CNRS).

The Cankam Project conducted by the EFEO Paris and Pondicherry consists of the following four sub-projects which are interrelated with each other:

(1) The fundamental project is the search for and identification of Cankam manuscripts in the various manuscript libraries and other institutions in Tamil Nadu and their digitisation.

(2) The subsequent sub-project is the preparation of critical editions of the Cankam texts based on the newly acquired and the so far disregarded manuscripts, the existing published editions of the Cankam texts and the widely scattered quotations found in Tamil grammatical and poetological literature.

(3) Along with the critical editions of the Cankam texts, annotated English translations of the texts, which take into account the various text variations and which discuss lexical and grammatical difficulties and peculiarities, and word indices are prepared.

(4) The final sub-project consists of the preparation of an Electronic Dictionary and a Grammar of Cankam Literature based on the word indices prepared for the individual Cankam texts.

Related Projects:

Transmissional History of the Cankam Corpus

In the framework of a research group entitled "Manuscript Cultures in Asia and Africa conducted at the University of Hamburg, Germany (http://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de) Eva Wilden is in charge of a Tamilist subproject ("Script, Print, Memory: Re-establishing the Cankam in Tamil Nadu") with the aim of adding to the series of critical editions of the Cankam literature an introductory volume that traces the transmissional history of the corpus and it testimonies.

Tamil Grammatical Tradition

From quotations in the commentaries of the grammatical tradition we have knowledge of a number of old Tamil grammarians and works, viz. Avinayanar, Kakkaipatiniyar, Kaiyanar and Periya Pammam, Mapuranam etc., especially in Yapparunkala Virutti, an encyclopaedic work on Tamil prosody of the 10th or 11th century A.D. These suggest significant developments in the history of Tamil grammatical concepts and theories. G. Vijayavenugopal is engaged in a compilation and annotated translation of this material into English. A detailed critical introduction is also under preparation. It will include a critique to "The History of Tamil grammatical theories" written by P.S. Subrahmanya Sastri.

Classical Tamil Winter and Summer Seminars (CTSS/CTWS)

The CTSS/CTWS is an intensive course in Classical Tamil of one month duration which is yearly being conducted at the Pondicherry centre of the EFEO since 2003. It combines reading texts in classical Tamil under the guidance of the Pondy pandits with instruction by a group of Western scholars. The levels vary from introductory courses for beginners to the discussion of selected texts for advanced students and researchers.

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