Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 8 : 7 July 2008
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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The Use of Second Person Pronoun in Tamil and Telugu

A. Parimala Gantham, Ph.D. Candidate


When we address a person we must choose our words carefully to show the social relation between us. Each linguistic community has its own sets of verbal behaviour specified for each context and situation. A speaker is not free to choose any of the alternatives available in the language. He or she is constrained to use what is most appropriate for the context.

While talking with others we have to use different styles. That is, what we want to say, how we want to say and how to select appropriate sentences, types, words and sounds, etc., are all governed by certain rules. Content and form is inseparable.

Choice of pronouns and related syntactic and morphological nuances are set apart in many languages, more so in tradition-bound societies of India. Terms used to name and address are used also to express politeness, etc.

Pronouns as Substitutes

Pronouns certainly function as substitutes of nouns. But they also perform various other important functions in linguistic communication. They are used for the sake of brevity and to avoid unnecessary and clumsy repetitions of nouns. Pronouns are said to have syntactic functions in sentences, where they are recognized as one of the word classes. Pronoun stands instead of the name of a person or thing. Friedrich (1964) sums up neatly the pronominal usage: "Just two short words operating in all speech events that involve two interlocutors signaled of dyadic relationship".

Pronouns as a Grammatical Item

Pronoun, as a grammatical item, plays an important role in maintaining and identifying the relationship that holds between individuals in the society. Thus, pronouns have a great social relevance. Pronominal usage indicates differences or dominance, intimacy or distance, equality or differential in status of the addresser and the addressee. We are bound to select or use the right pronoun after knowing who the addressee is, his or her position or status in the society, age, education, etc. An inappropriate selection may create unpleasantness between dyads and sometimes may lead to undesirable consequences.

Grammatical error may not cause much effort but the violation of a cultural norm will result the serious misunderstanding or ill-feeling.

Pronouns as Social Indicators

That pronouns are social indicators is clearly seen in the use of pronouns in Indian languages. Every second language teaching material, including those written by early Christian missionaries, such as those by A.C. Clayton, et al., have taken note of this complexity for the benefit of the second language learners of Indian languages. A participant observation method mother tongue perspective on the subject is dealt with by Thirumalai (1983: Aspects of Language Use, All India Tamil Linguistics Association, Annamalainagar).

The Goal of This Paper

The present paper aims to describe the pronouns, especially the second person pronouns, used by the Tamil and the Telugu speakers with different dyads in different situations in the society. I also try to identify any form used other than the second person pronoun in such situations.

The data for the present study is collected using a questionnaire. In addition, I also collected data from some weekly magazines. I observed various people engaged in conversation and this also resulted in abundant data for my research.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Kinship and Gender in Meiteiron | The Use of Layout in Malay Language Newspapers' Front Pages | Exploring Ethnolinguistic Vitality - A Case Study of Lepchas in Dzongu Valley | Tamil Advertisements in Television | The Use of Second Person Pronoun in Tamil and Telugu | Survival of the Minority Kristang Language in Malaysia | Meaning and Technique in Walt Whitman's Poetry | Syntactic Errors in English Committed by Indian Undergraduate Students | Form and Function of Disorders in Verbal Narratives - A Doctoral Dissertation | Problems of Assamese Speakers Learning Manipuri | Stylistic Changes in English-Arabic Translation - With Reference to BBC News Texts | HOME PAGE of June 2008 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

A. Parimala Gantham, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Lexicography
Telugu University
Hyderabad - 500 004
Andhra Pradesh, India

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