On a scale of transitivity, such verbs are obviously very low, and in normal usage either the dative-marked subject or the object, or both, may be missing, i.e. a well-formed sentence can consist simply of ×»ÀÕæ¾Ô teriyumaa `Do you know?' or ØÂý¹Ô£ veendaam `(I) don't want (it)'. In our analysis, these are called `dative stative' verbs which means that they are stative verbs that always verb marked for third-person with dative subject. These verbs are either low on the transitivity scale (or in some cases definitely intransitive, as with Ø½Ôâ£ poodum `suffice' and ´ÕÙ¹ kede `be available'). Some Tamil verbs can be used dative-statively, but also with first and second-person subjects, so when this happens, this is marked.
Our solution to this problem is to issue caveats but not to attempt a wholesale reclassification or scaling of transitivity for the Tamil verbs. We continue to use the (probably archaic) bipolar scale of transitivity, with the two ËÙ¹'s above given the traditional `intransitive/transitive'labels, often with information about restrictions on person and number of `subject.' Were it not for the fact that Tamil usually marks the distinction between intransitive and transitive morphological differences in the tense-marking of the two types, it would not be obvious to most non-Tamils that distinctions must be kept separate. English, for example, has only a small set of verbs that are paired in this way, one being transitive and the other intransitive. Even these (sit/set, lie/lay, fall/fell, rise/raise) are not kept separate by many speakers. In Tamil either the stem itself is different (such as the (C)VC/(C)VCC- type exemplified by Ñà/Ñ¥à oodu/oottu), `run' vs. `drive' or there is an alternation (C)Vnc-/(C)VCC- (as with »Õç£ä/»Õç¤ä tirumpu/tiruppu `return', or the differences are marked in the tense markers, usually with weak types for intransitive and strong types for transitive.