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Syntax of kitte ե׹

There are some complexities of syntax involved with the use of the animate locative marker ե׹ kitte. In some dialects, and/or in rapid speech, intervocalic ki- is deleted, and the resulting form is ׹ -tte.

When the animate locative marker kitte is attached to a noun in a sentence with certain kinds of stative verbs or the copula, there is a semantic contrast of the following sort:

  1. kitte `anim. loc.': ͨե׹ en-kitte panam irukku `I have money (on my person)'

  2. with `dative': ơ enakku panam irukku `I have money (I am a rich person)'

That is, use of kitte implies temporary possession or actual real-time possession, while use of the dative implies permanent, habitual, or inalienable possession. The dative would be used to express the actuality of having siblings, a wife, children etc., and of being generally wealthy, rather than temporarily in the possession of money.

With verbs such as kudu `give' the contrast in the use of kitte versus the dative -ukku distinguishes between giving something back (restoring possession) to a person who originally owned it ( kitte) versus transferring the ownership irrevocably, i.e., changing ownership (dative ukku).

With verbs meaning `say' or `ask', the use of kitte is more deferential, while the use of -ukku is less so, i.e. more direct, blunt, brusque, `no holds barred'.



Harold_F.Schiffman