Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University M. Ramanathan has stated that the theoretical aspects enunciated in Tamil treatises such as the Tholkappiyam should be brought out “to formalise, standardise and modernise the grammatical rules with explicit and scientific approaches.”
If done so, it would enhance the teaching level of Tamil language and literature, Dr. Ramanathan said while delivering the inaugural address at a national seminar on ‘Descriptive strategies of phonology and morphology as conceived in the traditional grammars Tholkappiyam, Veercholiyam and Neminatham.’
It was jointly organised by the Centre of Advanced Study in Linguistics of Annamalai University and the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, on the university premises.
Dr. Ramanathan said the Centre conferred classical language status on Tamil in 2004 and subsequently established the Central Institute of Classical Tamil in Chennai to carry out research in classical Tamil.
Therefore, in the context of the forthcoming World Classical Tamil Conference at Coimbatore, organising such a seminar to view the traditional grammar with linguistic perspectives had become highly relevant.
He noted that linguistic theories helped in studying the traditional grammar in a scientific manner and bringing out more information on Tamil grammatical tradition.
The Vice-Chancellor underscored the importance of making people working on other traditions to understand the value of the Tamil grammatical tradition, which was one of the objectives of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil.
This could be possible only with linguistic tools such as the Tholkappiyam, Veeracholiyam and Neminatham.
He observed that the seminar would focus attention on phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantic aspects in these three epochal works.
Dr. Ramanathan further said that such an endeavour would also help in formulation of the descriptive grammar techniques for evolving standard Tamil in modern day context. S.V. Shanmugam, former Director of Centre for Advanced Study in Linguistics, said that Tamil grammatical tradition was unique and did not derive from Sanskrit grammar.