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Verbs of the problematical class V.

The class V of the Graul classification is a problematical one, containing a number of verbs that are weak in the present but strong in the future, or `stronger' in the past than the weak classes but not quite as `strong' as classes six and VII.The notion of `strong' and `seak' are borrowed from another system of grammar; here strong seems to mean possessing doubled consonants and weak seems to mean possessing single consonants as tense markers.

Class V verbs usually contain sonorants (laterals, nasals, rhotics) in stem-final position, and both in Literary Tamil and in ST unpredictible things happen to these sonorants. In ST some of these verbs are not in use, or are used only with an aspectual auxiliary. For example kallu `learn', with Literary Tamil past - karr- usually occurs in ST only with aspectual iru or aspectual ״Ԫ kollu, e.g. kattiru or kattu-kkoo, as in հ ״ 硴 tami= to0pt.25ex ##= by .25ex engee kattirukkiinga? `Where (in the world) did you learn Tamil?'Note that this is not a very complementary statement; in fact the illucitionary force is `You don't know Tamil.' If someone really wants to know where a foreigner learned Tamil, s/he would ask հ ״ ⡴ե? tami= to0pt.25ex ##= by .25ex engee kattukittiinga? using aspectual ״Ԫ kollu.

Other Literary Tamil class V verbs are not used at all, or only in certain idioms. The LT verb `see' is not common in ST as a main verb, only in certain collocations or idioms such as kanaa kaanu `have (i.e. see) a dream', or in the archaic frozen negative form غԣ kaanoom `(I) don't see (a thing, etc.)'. Other class V verbs are shifted to class III, e.g. ը `eat' which has the Literary Tamil past ըŨ `I ate' is realized as tinnineen (with usual shortening of the cluster nnin to nn) and the Literary Tamil future ըؽ would be tinnuveen. But not all speakers do this, and some retention of this class, even at a minimal level, must be recognized. For example, the quotative verb ͨ en, phonologically reduced as it is, usually to just [-n-], is in standard ST more or less a predictibly class V verb, with past in nn-, present ޱ ngr- and future mb-, although the future may also occur as nnuv-, e.g. ǤԨ appadi-ngraan `that's what he says' or ǤܣԨ appadi-mbaan `that's what he'll say'. The pervasive use of this verb as a quotative marker and embedding marker in Tamil guarantees that it will appear very often in conversation and spoken texts, so despite the fact that ͨ may be almost the only verb that retains features of class V morphology, its functional load is high in the language.





next up previous
Next: The Verb: Person-Number-Gender Up: Finite Verbs Previous: Verbs with weak



Vasu Renganathan
Sat Nov 2 21:16:08 EST 1996