BÁLINT-ILLYÉS, Gábor Szentkátolnai. Szentkátolna 13.3.1844 — Temesvár (now Timişoara in Romania) 25.5.1913. Hungarian Altaic Scholar, Polyglott and Linguist, also interested in Dravidian. Professor in Kolozsvár. He learnt many languages already as a schoolboy. Studied Law at Wien and Budapest, also attended the Orientalische Akademie. Richterprüfung 1871, left soon for his first journey to Astrahan and Mongolia, returned 1875. In 1877 in China and India (studied Tamil), 1879 in Anatolia, 1880-81 in Bosnia, 1888-90 in Athens. From 1897 Professor of Ural-Altaic Philology at Kolozsvár University (now Cluj-Napoca in Romania). He made an attempt to find a genetic relationship between Hungarian and Tamil (severely criticized by Budenz and Hunfalvy). This unlikely hypothesis seriously damaged his career and is now rightly forgotten
Publications: Several publications on Tatar, Mongol, and Manchu.
– Tamil tanulmányok. (Tamil Studies) 1894 / Tamulische (dravidische) Studien. 432 p. Vienna n.d. (1898, including a Tamil Grammar).
Sources: Das Geistige Ungern 1, 49; Bethlenfalvy 1981, 23; *L.J. Nagy, “G.B.’s journey to the Mongols”, AOHu 9, 1959, 311-317; no works in Puskás 1991.
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