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Sir William Jones

Sir William Jones

Birth
Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Death 27 Apr 1794 (aged 47)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Burial Calcutta, West Bengal, India
Memorial ID 68928860 · View Source
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Linguist and scholar of Indian culture. He was the son of William Jones (who devised the mathematical symbol pi), and was linguistically gifted as a child, learning Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Farsi early on, as well as basic written Chinese. He completed his undergraduate and Master's studies at Oxford University, and afterwards worked as a tutor and translator. In 1770 he joined the Middle Temple to study to become a barrister. He worked as a circuit judge for several years, and his duties included negotiating post-war settlements with Benjamin Franklin following the American Revolution. This was not a fruitful effort, and on March 4, 1783, he was appointed as puisne judge to the Supreme Court of Bengal. As such, he went to Calcutta. While there, he became enamored of Indian culture, literature and languages, and translated various ancient Sanskrit works into English. His observations of the affinity between Sanskrit, Greek and Latin stimulated the first serious scholarly research into their common source, which would become known as Proto-Indo-European. His writings covered numerous other areas of his interest, including botany, music, and Indian law. By the time he died, at age 47, he had mastered 13 languages and was reasonably proficient in 28 others.

Bio by: Chris Nelson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Chris Nelson
  • Added: 26 Apr 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 68928860
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir William Jones (28 Sep 1746–27 Apr 1794), Find A Grave Memorial no. 68928860, citing South Park Street Cemetery, Calcutta, West Bengal, India ; Maintained by Find A Grave .