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Simple sentences in Tamil can be made by joining two nouns or noun phrases without any linking or copula verb. In such sentences the first noun acts as the subject and the second as the predicate. Such predicates are called adjectival predicates because they act as modifiers to the subject.
1. முருகன் வாத்தியார்
Sentence 1 can also be written as வாத்தியார் முருகன், where a shift in focus of the subject is understood with a meaning that 'the teacher is Murugan' rather than 'Murugan is a teacher'. In most cases the order of words in Tamil sentences is found to be flexible.
Pronouns and corresponding possessive ('oblique') forms
Noun-noun sentences in Tamil can also be made using demonstrative pronouns such as இது (itu) 'this', அது (that) 'that' etc., and possessive pronouns such as என் (en) 'my', உன் (un) 'your-intimate', உங்கள் - உங்க 'your-polite' etc.
இது என் புத்தகம்
Changing the order as in என் புத்தகம் இது would mean 'among a set of books the one that is referred is my book'.
Similarly, each of these noun phrases can co-occur with adjectives as follows.
உங்கள் புத்தகம் நல்ல புத்தகம்
Questions can be made in a similar manner, but by the substitution of question words such as என்ன (enna) 'what', எது (edu) 'which-thing', எங்கே (engkee) 'where', யார் (yaar) 'who' and எப்பொழுது/எப்போது (eppozhutu/eppoodu) 'when'. In many instances, these words occur at the end of sentences.
உங்கள் பெயர் என்ன?
என் பெயர் வள்ளி?
அவர்கள் ஊர் எது?
அவர்கள் ஊர் பழனி
Negation of Noun-noun sentences
The negative form of noun-noun sentences is made using the negative word இல்லை occuring at the end of the sentence. The use of this word is obligatory in all such negative sentences. It is also necessary that this word must occur at the end of the sentence.
எங்கள் ஊர் மதுரை இல்லை
இது என் புத்தகம் இல்லை
Dialogue:Choose a partner and exchange greetings, ask each other's names and names of parents, ask about what they have etc. Use the following words and expressions:
The general greeting that can be used by anyone is வணக்கம் (greetings), எப்படி இருக்கீங்க or சௌக்கியமா? (How are you?). When one says வணக்கம் with head bowed or folded hands the respondent is expected to perform a similar gesture. When asked the question எப்படி இருக்கீங்க?, the respondant is expected to reply either நல்லா இருக்கேன் or சௌக்கியம் (I am fine). In extraordinary cases, some might respond with ஏதோ இருக்கேன் meaning 'sort of okay'. Like in English, usually the respondant is not expected to say for example 'I am not well' or 'doing some what okay' etc., as their initial response to எப்படி இருக்கீங்க?. The proper way is to say நல்லா இருக்கேன் 'I am fine' and after a few exchanges bring up any unpleasant news. People who keep in touch regularly normally keep track of any good or unpleasant events in each others families, and during greetings they respond appropriately. For example, if there was an unpleasant event in someone's family, no one is expected to ask him or her questions like எப்படி இருக்கீங்க?, சௌக்கியமா? or even வணக்கம். Rather, such encounters would usually begin with a head nod or smile.
The length of a greeting exchange depends on the level of familiarity between the parties concerned. Thus it may even take between a minute and longer. Even when people are in a hurry, they will take time to exchange greetings in a proper fashion. Most men would shake hands when greeting one another. Shaking hands between men and women of any age is not appropriate.
When greeting each other, people of the same sex may SHAKE HANDS. Men more than women will initiate a greeting with a handshake. Women rarely greet each other with a hand shake. Rather they may use body language such as a nodding of the head or smile. Influences from other cultures have not yet become fully popular in much of Tamil culture, especially in the case of women; a hug, a kiss on both cheeks, and holding each other's hands while conversing etc., is not common. Such responses from other cultures will most likely embarass the Tamil speakers.
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