First on the Press and First on the Web

Inia Pandian

TAMIL TRIBUNE, August 2000 (ID.2000-08-03)

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Thanks to the pioneering work of some devoted Tamils working in the Information Technology field, Tamil is the first South Asian language to go on the Internet and the Worldwide Web. Do you know that Tamil was the first Asian language to go to printing press also?

The first Tamil book was "Lucae Tamil Vina Vidai" (Lucas Tamil Questions and Answers). It was printed in Lisbon, Portugal in 1554; Roman (English) script was used because printing blocks for Tamil letters were yet to be made (as in the early days of Worldwide Web when Tamil words were typed in English script because Tamil fonts were yet to be developed).

The first South Asian language to see print in its own script is also Tamil. The 16-page book "Thampiran Vanakkam" was printed in Tamil letters in 1557 in Goa, India; this was the very first printing press in South Asia. The same book was printed again in 1558 in Ambalakkkadu near Trichur, India.

----    2000-a1d

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