Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Spoken vs Written Tamil

Tamil has somewhat more distinct written and spoken forms than other languages. In English, we definitely have a more formal written register than what we use in daily speech, we slur words together like "going to" often becomes "gonna" (I hate that by the way), we use contractions in speech "don't" instead of "do not," etc. Tamil seems to be a bit more complicated than that.

Looking at the present tense:
The written form for I go is போகிறேன் (pOkiREn), spoken, you are more likely to hear "pOREn" dropping the "ki" entirely.  This seems the case for just about every present tense verb in spoken Tamil, but I have not asked enough sources to say this with certainty.

Looking at "you respective/plural"
நீங்கள் (neengal) adds the ending ஈர்கள் (eergal) to the written form of a verb: நீங்கள் போகிறீர்கள். (You go/are going).  In the spoken form however, we use "eengal" just like the ending of the pronoun itself.


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