The Verb ‘Say’ in Dravidian Languages: A Study in Grammaticalisation

Author: Hifzur Rahman Ansary(Research Scholar)
Speaker: Hifzur Rahman Ansary
Topic: Language Contact and Change
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


The present paper proposes to examine and explore a number of cases of grammaticalization of verb ‘say’ in Dravidian Languages. The paper attempts to scrutinize from the point of syntax, taking them as instances of a lexical category to a functional category with effects of semantic bleaching and extensions (use in new contexts). The verb ‘say‘ is semantically polysemous in nature which has multiple meanings in the sentence. It studies and investigates the various processes of grammaticalization of verb ‘say’ in which the verb retains its natural and grammatical category but gives up its actual semantic meaning and shows a different new meaning in the contexts. Moreover, the paper also intends to describe not only the verb ‘say’ that combines with other different grammatical categories (Noun, Verb & Adj) to create a new kind of meaning in the sentences but also morpho-syntactic information of grammaticalization. In particular, the verb “say” has been found to be used as a complementizer, quotative markers, reason marker, embedded questions, introducers, purposive markers, onomatopoeic expressions, manner adverbs etc.

The primary as well as secondary data have been collected from the native speakers of the languages and printed materials such as journals, grammar books and other articles. Hence, the main objective of the present paper is to identify and investigate the various usages of the verb ‘say’ in Dravidian languages. This paper investigates the various usages of the verb ‘say’ in selective Dravidian languages–Telugu and Kannada.

Keywords: Complementizer, Grammaticalization, Semantic Bleaching and Semantic Fading.