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The Four Stages of Development of Tamil163

6. The Four Stages Of Development Of Tamil

     Tamil, as an original and highly cultivated language, has passed through four stages of development, viz., (1) Mono-syllabic or Isolating, (2) Compounding, (3) Inflexional and (4) Poly-inflexional. During the Monosyllabic or Isolating stage, all words, with the exception of some imitatives, had been monosyllables. e.g. mƒ, beast; to give.

     During the compounding stage, the mode of combining two or more simple words together in order to express a compound idea, had been in vogue, and the components had remained without change of form or loss of meaning and independence.

     e.g: il-ƒ˜, housewife, lit. ‘house-woman’; nƒ-i. (), dog, lit. that which has a long tongue.

     The word ƒ˜i seems to have originally denoted a female person.

           … or i, as an ancient pronoun, corresponds to the modern du or idu.

     Compounding of words or stems has been called Aggluti-nation by many authorities.

     During the Inflexional Stage, the succeeding or final components of many compound words had lost their original signification, and become mere formative suffixes.

     e:g. illƒ˜, wife; nƒy, dog.

     During the Poly-inflexional Stage, more than one inflexion had taken place in the same compound word.

    e.g. perumƒn (peru+maga+ƒŒ.)