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The Verb: Person-Number-Gender Agreement.

Most Tamil finite verbs are marked for `agreement' in person, number and gender (PNG) with their subjects. (`Finite' verbs are verbs which can stand alone in a sentence without needing another verb, auxiliary verb, or whatever, to make the sentence complete and grammatical.) This means that a suffix, called a PNG marker, is added to the verb; it follows the tense marker and is the same for all tenses, except for the neuter present and future, which does not have the same form as the neuter PNG marker in the past, for example. Furthermore, some verbs have unpredictable neuter PNG forms in the past, as well. Non-neuter PNG markers, however, are regular.

The following are complete paradigms, in all persons, of the verbs vaa `come', ؽ poo `go', paaru `see', iru `be located', Ԥ saappidu `eat', vaangu `buy, fetch, get, take', vandidu `come for sure', pa8i `study'. Note a number of anomalies: the neuter future is based on the infinitive, rather than using the future marker; the neuter plural is not distinguished, so neuter singular functions for both; the feminine polite form is the same as the plural non-polite. The first person plural pronoun is distinguished for `exclusive' and `inclusive': inclusive includes the addressee, exclusive excludes the addressee.

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