Thomas Prendergast

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Thomas Prendergast (1806 14 November 1886) was an East India Company civil servant and writer on language learning, inventor of the ‘mastery’ system of learning languages.



Prendergast was the son of Sir Jeffery Prendergast, born at Clonmel in 1769, who was in the service of the East India Company, becoming colonel of the 39th native infantry in 1825. Sir Jeffery served in the Mysore War, was knighted in 1838, promoted to the rank of general in 1854, and died in 1856, having married in 1804 Elizabeth, daughter of Hew Dalrymple of Nunraw.

Clonmel Town in Munster, Ireland

Clonmel is the county town and largest settlement of County Tipperary, Ireland. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army which sacked the towns of Drogheda and Wexford. With the exception of the townland of Suir Island, most of the borough is situated in the civil parish of "St Mary's" which is part of the ancient barony of Iffa and Offa East.

Nunraw is an estate in East Lothian, Scotland. It includes the White Castle, a hillfort, situated on the edge of the Lammermuir Hills, two miles south of the village of Garvald, Nunraw House was formerly used as the Guesthouse for retreatants at Sancta Maria Abbey the Cistercian monastery on the hillside nearby. Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of Arms, writing in 1905 stated that Whitecastle and Nunraw are the same place and that the lairds there were often referred to by one or the other of these territorial designations.

Thomas was nominated a writer in the British East India Company's service on 23 June 1826, and became assistant to the collector of Tanjore, Madras presidency, in 1828. He was acting head assistant to the collector of Nellore on 16 Jan. 1829, and head assistant on 9 Feb. 1830. In 1831 he became acting sub-collector and joint magistrate of Nellore, in 1833 acting assistant judge at Guntoor, and on 8 Aug. 1834 assistant judge of Tinnevelly, where he remained until 1838. He was afterwards for many years collector and magistrate at Rajahmundry until his retirement on the annuity fund in 1859. On his return to England he settled at Cheltenham, and soon became totally blind. Despite this misfortune, he devoted himself to literary work, and invented what he called the mastery system of learning languages, based on the process pursued by children in learning to speak. By frequently repeating conversational sentences Prendergast had himself acquired the Madras vernacular, Tamil, and Telegu. His system was to some extent a development of the Ollendorffian, but Prendergast elaborated its details on original lines. His success was considerable, and the various manuals in which he practically expounded his views went through numerous editions.

Tamil language language

Tamil is a Dravidian language predominantly spoken by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, and by the Tamil diaspora, Sri Lankan Moors, Douglas, and Chindians. Tamil is an official language in three countries: India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. In India, it is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Furthermore, Tamil is used as one of the languages of education in Malaysia, along with English, Malay and Mandarin. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India.

Telugu language Dravidian language

Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry (Yanam) by the Telugu people. It stands alongside Hindi, English and Bengali as one of the few languages with primary official language status in more than one Indian state. There are also significant linguistic minorities in neighbouring states. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of India by the country's government.

Heinrich Gottfried Ollendorff was a German grammarian and language educator.

He died at Meldon Cottage, The Park, Cheltenham, and was buried in the new cemetery on 18 November. His son, Sir Harry Prendergast, G.C.B., V.C., was commander in Burma in 1883–6.

Cheltenham Place in England

Cheltenham is a regency town and borough on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, England. Cheltenham became known as a health and holiday spa town resort following the discovery of mineral springs in 1716.

Harry Prendergast Recipient of the Victoria Cross

General Sir Harry North Dalrymple Prendergast, was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and, in imperial times, Commonwealth forces.


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