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The Duration of an Action-Real or Aspectual? The Evolution of the Present Tense in Tamil

V. S. Rajam
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 105, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1985), pp. 277-291
DOI: 10.2307/601707
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/601707
Page Count: 15
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The Duration of an Action-Real or Aspectual? The Evolution of the Present Tense in Tamil
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Abstract

Earlier scholarly discussions on Dravidian verbs have identified -(k)kiṉṟ- as the most prevalent "present tense" marker used in the positive forms of modern Tamil verbs. This paper claims that -(k)kiṉṟ- is nothing but the amalgam of an aspect marker -(k)kil- and the current time marker -ṉ-. It also shows that -(k)kiṉṟ- has replaced an earlier "present tense" marker -āniṉṟ- which itself is a synthesis of an aspect marker -ānil- and the current time marker -ṉ-. Attestations from pre-modern Tamil poetry and medieval Tamil inscriptions evidence the gradual replacement of -āniṉṟ- by -(k)kiṉṟ-, while the commentaries on traditional Tamil grammars support the analysis of -āniṉṟ- and -(k)kiṉṟ- as conglomerates of the aspect markers -ānil- and -kil- with the current time marker -ṉ- respectively.

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