Case marking in some Dravidian languages

J. Clancy Clements clements at INDIANA.EDU
Thu Dec 27 21:09:16 UTC 2001

VYAKARAN: South Asian Languages and Linguistics Net
Editors:  Tej K. Bhatia, Syracuse University, New York
          John Peterson, University of Osnabrueck, Germany
Details:  Send email to listserv at and say: INFO VYAKARAN
Subscribe:Send email to listserv at and say:
          (Substitute your real name for first_name last_name)

I have a question regarding case marking in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and
Marathi.  I'm interested in cases of case marking of DATIVE and COMITATIVE or
DATIVE and INSTRUMENTAL with the same suffix.

First, K.P. Mohanan (in his description of Malayalam in the _Intern.
Encyclopedia of Linguistics_, p. 373) states that indirect objects are
marked by either the dative or the comitative suffix.  That is, the
comitative suffix can mark the comitative relation, but also the dative

In Kannada, one finds the dative relation marked by the dative or the
instrumental suffix, as in the examples below.

Avanu-0 nana-ge bisket-annu tin-is-id-anu
'He fed me the biscuit.'

Avanu-0 nana-inda bisket-annu tin-is-id-anu
'He had me eat a biscuit.'

This is the type of marking I'm interested in.

My questions are:
1) Regarding Malayalam, is there a difference in meaning (e.g. logical or
conversational implicatures) between marking an indirect object with a
dative or comitative marker?  If so, how would one describe the difference?

2) Does Tamil have this type of marking, where the indirect object is
marked by a dative suffix or by an instrumental or comitative suffix?  If
so, are there differences in meaning expressing by using one or the other
marker?  If so, how would one describe them?

3) Does Telegu also have this type of marking??

Any information on these questions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks very much,

Clancy Clements

                J. Clancy Clements
                Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese
                Adjunct Associate Professor of Linguistics
                Director of Undergraduate Studies
                Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, BH844, IU-B
                1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
                Bloomington, IN 47405
                Tel 812-855-8612; Fax 812-855-4526

More information about the Vyakaran mailing list