Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 10 October 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.



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Dubhashi and the Colonial Port in Madras Presidency

K. Marimuthu, M.A., M.Phil.

Language/s and Professions of Natives in British India Ports

With no railroad yet ready to connect Indian towns, European traders had to depend on boats to receive and deliver their goods as well as to export the goods they managed to produce with the help of natives. Their language competence in local idioms was not noteworthy. But, wisely, they found a way out from this difficult communication situation.

Dubhashi is the general term that was used among south Indians to refer to the interpreters who helped European traders with their multilingual skills. Dubhashi is also a last name of certain castes in north India. Google search for the term Dubhashi actually brings out a large number of individuals with Dubhashi as their last or surname.

Dubhashi literally means one who possesses two languages, a bilingual. In the history of modern Tamilnadu, the name of Anandarangam Pillai (b. 1709) is mentioned with praise for his role as a Dubhashi, an interpreter of French and English and several Indian languages, who was consultant to Dupleix (Joseph Francois Dupleix, the Governor of Pondicherry between 1742 and 1754).

Languages around the Port

Indian ports have always been multilingual in character. Ancient Tamil literature, written about 2000 years ago, talk about several ports in Tamilnadu, all of which received foreigners speaking a variety of languages. While there is no mention about the linguistic composition of the local populace, ancient grammars such as Tolkaappiyam make references to territories and boundaries that speak of languages other than Tamil. In addition, some of the goods described as commodities sold in the ports clearly reveal that these goods must have come from outside Tamilnadu.

Situation in the newly emerging port of Madras or Chenna Pattanam was no different. Moreover, Madras or Chenna Pattanam was clearly in a region that was adjacent to the Telugu speaking area.

Religious Composition

Strangely, the Europeans were more focused on the religious diversity of the population they encountered in India. Linguistic diversity of the population was noted, but not taken into account in any serious manner for political purposes. As Thirumalai points out, language diversity was recognized as an important political policy only when the British tried to avoid the partition of India during the visit of the British Cabinet Delegation in 1946 ( On the other hand, Christian missionaries seemed to have always taken linguistic diversity as an essential element of their missionary work, even as they were interested in religious conversion.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

English Loanwords in Meiteiron A Linguistic and Sociolinguistic Analysis | A Report on the State of Urdu Literacy in India, 2010 | More Than Meets the Eye Reasons Behind Asian Students' Perceived Passivity in the ESL/EFL Classroom | English for Medical Students of Hodeidah University, Yemen - A Pre-sessional Course | Education as an Indicator for Human Resource Development | Representation of Malaysian Women in Politics | A Modern Approach to Application of Abbreviation and Acronym Strategy for Vocabulary Learning in Second/Foreign Language Learning Procedure | Causes of Social Acceptance of "O" and "A" Level Education System in Pakistan | Pronounce Foreign Words the English way! | Dubhashi and the Colonial Port in Madras Presidency | An Investigation of Davis' Translation of SHAHNAMEH - Rostam and Sohrab Story in Focus | Feminine, Female and Feminist - A Critical Spectrum on Selected Novels by Kamala Markandaya, Shahsi Deshpande and Arundhati Roy | Four-letter Words and the Urdu Learner's Dictionaries in Pakistan | Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin - A Study of the Impact of War on Historical and Economic Aspects of the Society | Was Gandhi a True Mahatma? | Omani Women
Are Their Language Skills Good Enough for the Workplace?
| Spread of English Globalisation Threatens English Language Teaching (ELT) in Pakistan | Multiple Intelligences, Blended Learning and the English Teacher | A Micro-Case Study of Vocabulary Acquisition among First Year Engineering Students | Imagery of Wilderness in Margaret Hollingsworth's Islands | The Influence of Learning Environment on Learners' Attitude in a Foreign Language Setting | Caste - Gender Ideology in Gundert's Malayalam-English Dictionary | Development of a Hindi to Punjabi Machine Translation System - A Doctoral Dissertation | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF OCTOBER, 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT. | HOME PAGE of October 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

K. Marimuthu, M.A., M.Phil.
Department of History
Bharathidasan University
Tiruchirappalli - 620 024
Tamilnadu, India

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