VINSON, Julien

VINSON, Elie Honoré Julien. Paris (Wikip. claims Pondichéry) 21.1.1843 — Libourne 21.11.1926. French Indologist and Scholar of Religion. Professor in Paris. Born in Paris, but grew up in Karikal and Pondichéry, where his father was a civil servant, and thus learned Tamil almost to perfection. He returned to France in the age of 18. From 1864 studied at Ecole forestier in Nancy. Sous-inspecteur des forets, “garde général forestier à Bayonne, ancien travelleur à l’Inde” (1874), but with strong amateur interest in linguistics. In 1879-1921 Professeur d’hindoustani et de tamoul at E.L.O.V. (first deputy, from 1886 permanent, succeeding Garçin de Tassy). Retired as late as 1921 (perhaps because of the war) and was succeeded by J. Bloch. Never returned to India.

Vinson was mainly interested in Tamil, also in Basque and Amerindian languages. According to Meile he shared the linguistic ideas of his time, which diminished the value of his studies; his Urdu grammar was rather poor, but the Tamil grammar much better. His most valuable work was the selection of Buddhist and Jaina legends translated from Old Tamil. He corresponded with Svaminatha Aiyar and encouraged him to continue his work on Old Tamil literature. From 1874 editor of the Revue de linguistique with others, in 1882-1916 alone.

Publications: Littérature tamoule ancienne, poésie épique: le Ramayana de Kamban… (Kamba Râmâyanam), ou Aventures de Rama, septième incarnation de Vichnu. 24 p. Pondichéry 1861.

La poésie chez les races du sud de l’Inde. P. 1871.

Le verbe dans les langues dravidiennes. Tamoul, Canara, Télinga. 19+57 p. P. 1878.

– “Sur la prononciation du grec ancien”, RLing 2:1, 1868, 40–50 (Indian evidence).

– “Littérature tamoule ancienne”, RLing 22, 1889, 1-32 & 107-133; other articles on Tamil, JA 1915 & 1916, and on Dravidian, C. d. Or. 1873, RScient 1879, RLing 1880, 1881, JA 1895, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1919.

With A. Hovelacque: Études de linguistique et d’ethnographie. 8+375 p. P. 1878; with A. Hovelacque & E. Picot: Mélanges de linguistique et d’anthropologie. 6+330 p. P. 1880.

– Transl. Les français dans l’Inde, Dupleix et Labourdonnais, extraits du journal d’Anandarangappoullé, courtier de la Compagnie française des Indes (1736-1748). 79+339 p. P. 1894.

Éléments de la grammaire hindoustanie. 82 p. P. 1883; Manuel de la langue hindostani (urdu et hindi). Grammaire, textes, vocabulaire. 270 p. 1899.

Legendes bouddhistes et djaïnas, traduites du tamoul. 1-2. ???+274 p. P. 1900 (Cilappatikāram and Maṇimēkalai).

Manuel de la langue tamoule (grammaire, textes, vocabulaire). 46+240 p. P. 1903.

– “Coup d’œil sur l’étude de la langue basque”, RLing 1:3-4, 1868, 381-405; “Le verbe basque”, RLing 6:3, 238-253 & 7:2, 1874, 99-109; “Eléments mythologiques des pastorales basques”, RHR 1, 1880, 305-326 & 3, 1881, 232-239; other works on Basque.

Les religions actuelles, leurs doctrines, leur évolution, leur histoire. 24+624 p. P. 1888.

Sources: *D. Baggioni, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 976f.; Meile, Cent cinquantenaire de l’ELOV, 116-118; Wikipedia with photo.

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