chapter  6
42 Pages

The major indicative auxiliary verbs of Tamil

BySanford B. Steever

The meanings of indicative auxiliaries reflect the uses to which they are put in conversation. They encode verbal categories that elaborate the narrated event, anchoring it to the context of utterance. These categories indicate who is involved, what relation it bears to other events, how it is known and what opinion the participants have of it. They enable the participants in conversation to construct a coherent mental picture of what is being said, acting as a kind of grammatical cement between the narrated event and other facets of the utterance. They are thus responsible for much of the cohesion in Tamil syntactic structures. States and activities are inherently durative; it is in fact unmarked for them to be so. Achievements and accomplishments correlate with punctuality because both incorporate a change of state. Stativity is treated here as an aspectual class of the main verb, one which implies duration in time, and is thus attributed to the auxiliate not the auxiliary.