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Accusative Case

The accusative case marks an noun as the `object' of `patient' of some action; it is the thing that is subjected to the action of the verb. Inanimate nouns are not normally marked for accusative unless the speaker wishes to indicate a SPECIFIC or DEFINITE thing; this is similar to the function of the definite article in English (which Tamil otherwise lacks). Animate nouns, however, are always marked accusative when they are the objects of verbs.

Examples of the accusative:

  1. maram `tree' + -e ׻ maratte (e.g.) ׻ Ԣػ maratte paatteen `I saw the tree'.

  2. viiTu `house' + -e ֥׹ viitte (e.g.) ֥׹ Ԣػ viitte paatteen `I saw the house'.
  3. avaru `he' + -e avare `him' (e.g.) Ԣػ avare paatteen `I saw him'.

  4. aaru `river' -e Ȣ׻ aattee (e.g.) Ȣ׻ Ԣػ aatte paatteen `I saw the river'.

Often mass nouns are not marked for the accusative because the accusative makes these nouns particular. Thus, we get sentences like: tanni `water' + ܫض kudicceen `I drank' ܫض tanni kudicceen `I drank (some) water.' However, mass nouns may be used with the accusative marker to indicate particular things: ׿ ܫض tanniye kudicceen would mean `I drank THE water.'

Note that in dative-stative constructions (sec. ??) animate objects are marked for accusative, the subject is marked dative, and no nominative-marked noun may appear in the sentence. This is not ungrammatical.



Harold_F.Schiffman