The Tamil background
This chapter provides readers with a sketch of Tamil grammar to enable them to follow our examples and arguments. Embedded within this sketch is a discussion of the methods used to gather and transcribe the primary data. Rounding off the discussion is a critical synopsis of the scholarly literature on Tamil auxiliaries to provide a context for our analysis. The Tamil language has two major parts of speech, noun and verb, both of which are identified by their inflectional patterns. Little consensus exists concerning minor parts of speech, e.g., some view adjectives expansively as an independent part of speech while others treat them restrictively as defective nouns. The language lacks basic determiners, adverbs and conjunctions; the functions normally associated with them are assumed by other morphosyntactic devices, including compounding, nonfinite verb forms and clitics.