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Next: Pragmatic Considerations. Up: Primarily aspectual verbs. Previous: ؽ poodu `malicious

Lexical problems.

In modern Tamil, especially in Spoken, there are lexical verbs that no longer occur without an aspectual verb, i.e. they have been relexicalized with the aspectual verb incorporated, as it were, onto the stem. Since these combinations take place according to the usual compounding or verbal concatenation process, the first element has to be in the form of the AVP, and the second receives tense-marking and PNG.

LT verbs such as kaa `wait' now occur almost exclusively with (aspectual) ش koo or aspectual iru attached, i.e Ԣش kaattukkoo or Ԣ kaattiru. In such cases, the aspectual value of ش koo is weakenedI would prefer a better term than this but if we see aspect as a still-variable category in Tamil, we have to place it on a continuum with two poles, and variation in between. and the compound simply represents the relexicalized form of the verb. Thus there can be a sort of `sliding scale' from lexical to grammatical, with some combinations of main verb and ش koo being primarily lexical, with very little aspectual `meaning', but at the other end of the scale the occurrence of ش koo will be minimally lexical but maximally aspectual.

This is also the case with the verb kal `learn' which now occurs only with ش koo or iru attached: ش kattukoonga `(please) learn (it)'. This contrasts semantically with kal with iru attached: kattiru `be learning'; the illocutionary force of this combination is sarcastic or ironic, since հ ״ 硴 tami= to0pt.25ex ##= by .25ex enge katt-irukkiinga (which literally means `Where did you learn Tamil?') has the illocutionary force of `Where (the hell) did you learn Tamil? (i.e., you don't know Tamil.)' Use of ش koo with some other verbs, as noted above, also contrasts with non-use in an almost purely lexical way: ؽ poodu `put, drop' means `put on' clothing, but ؽԥش poottu-koo implies the result of putting on, i.e. `wearing'.

SubsectionSummary Let us summarize some of what is known about Tamil aspect as follows:



next up previous
Next: Pragmatic Considerations. Up: Primarily aspectual verbs. Previous: ؽ poodu `malicious



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