Q: Historical Tamil syntax

Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Thu Apr 12 10:26:32 EDT 2001

 Grammarians use another famous sentence:

 "eRumpu muTTaikoNTu tiTTai ERin2 mazai peytatu."

Here, even though "peytatu" denotes past, it actually
means the future - "it's going to rain".

It's like someone saying in March 2000, "NASDAQ/DotCom
stocks crashed" if (s)he was sure.


--- Venkatraman Iyer <venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> "avar nalla uyaramaay iruntaar" sounds real strange;
> Does it not imply? :, "ippOtu avar uyaramaay illai"
> Using present tense for past occurences is called
> "kAla vazuvamaiti". I think you can find it in na_n_nUl grammar
> some examples. "nA_n iLamaiyil viLaiyATuvatu intap paLLit tiNNai." etc
> tiNai vazuvamaiti eg., calling the daughter: "vATA, vATA! kaTaikkup
> pOkalAm." etc. iTa vazuvamaiti is there too.
> ----------------
> Vidyanath Rao wrote:
> <<<
> I would like to know how far back we can trace the following usage in
> Modern Tamil: The "future" form (historically derived from the
> non-past) is also used in case of states considered to be intrinsic
> or permanent, even if the referent is not alive. For example,
>      1) avar nalla uyaramaay iruppaar
>          He was quite tall. [In English, 'was' is required if the
>          referent is dead.]
>      2) madurai maNi iyer na_nRaaka shaNmugapriyaa paaDuvaar.
>          Madurai Mani Iyer was good at singing Shanmugapriya.
> It does not seem easy to find examples of such situations from the
> oldest Tamil texts. Whether a given form is considered a participle
> or a finite verb also seems to vary with the authority consulted,
> making it harder to classify a given sentence as nominal or not.
> [These cannot be waved away as historical presents. Use of past forms
> here change the meaning: saying paaDi_naar in 2) makes it seem to
> refer to a specific concert; saying iruntaar in 1) sounds strange.]
> >>>
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