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Postpositions in Malayalam


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Postpositions in Malayalam
Malayalam is a Dravidian language used predominantly in the state of Kerala, in

southern India. It is one of the 22 official languages in India, and it is used by around 36

million people. Malayalam is also widely used in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Mahe. Malayalam follows a ‘Subject Object verb(SOV)’ word order.

This paper focuses on the concept of postpositions in Malayalam and test the hypothesis that they are in fact noun phrases. It has been observed that almost all postpositions in Malayalam function as case endings. It has also been noticed that the postpositions carry semantic information abut the relationship between two nouns and between nouns and verbs. Postpositions in Malayalam occur after the nominal. They perform similar to inflectional markers. But unlike inflectional markers, postpositions in Malayalam are free forms. Being invariants, they can stand alone or alongside another free or bound morpheme.

Eg: Avante jeevithathil ninnu othiri padikaan undu
He+poss Life+gen case from much learn is
(There is much to learn from his life)

When we speak about postpositions, it is necessary to mention that Malayalam has bound postpositions as well. But in this paper, we are concerned only about the free postpositions. Although all the postpositions in Malayalam are invariants normally, they tend to be variants when negates.

If we classify Malayalam postpositions according to the cases their preceeding nouns take, it will be as follows: (with their English correspondences)


NOMINATIVE

ACCUSATIVE

GENITIVE

POSSESIVE

OR

DATIVE



DATIVE

Koodathe- apart from,

Patti-about

Koode-with

Mukalil-on/above

Vendi-for

Maari-off

Kurichu-about

Nadukku-between,amidst

Kuruke-across

Pakaram-in place of

Ozhichu-except for

Poole-as,like

Chuttum-around

Aduthu-adjacent







Munpu/pinpu-before

Purakil-behind

Ethire-against







Sambandichu-according to

Adiyil-under

Idayil-between







Ozhichu-except for

Thaazhe-below

Shesham-after










Arikil-beside

Appuram-beyond










Purathu-on

Munpe-prior to













Munnil-in front of













Ullil-in













Akathu-in



Apart from these there are a few postpositions which comes only after nouns which denotes place or time. They are :




  1. Muthal - from

  2. Thottu - from

  3. Ninnu - from

  4. vare - to/till

Eg: Hyderabad muthal Mumbai vare samaram aanu

Hyderabad from Mumbai till strike be

It is strike from Hyderabad till mumbai

Examples for postpositions comes after the nouns which takes different cases:
Nominative:


  1. sita koodathe ramanum varum

sita apart from ram+also come+future

Apart from sita, ram also will come


  1. vazhi maari sancharikkuka

way off walk

Walk off the way




  1. john ozhichu ellavarum vannu

john except all come+past

All except John came


Accusative



  1. ramane patti sita ennodu paranju.

Ram+acc about sita me+to tell+past

Sita told me about ram.




  1. njaan prashnangale kurichu kettu

I problems+acc about hear+past

I heard about the problems


3. johninu munpe ram vannu

john+acc before ram come+past

Ram came before john


  1. enne sampandichu athu anaavashyam aanu

I+acc according to that useless be

That is useless according to me




  1. Sitaye ozhichu ellavareym kandu

Sita+acc except for all see+past

Saw everyone except for sita.


Genitive


  1. njaan johninte koode pookunnu

I john+gen with go+fut

I am going with john.




  1. avan shatrukkalude nadukku aanu

he enemies+gen amidst be

he is amidst his enemies




  1. njaan avalude purakil ninnu

I she+gen behind stand+past

I stood behind her




  1. book meshayude mukalil aanu

book table+gen on be

Book is on the table


Dative




  1. john marykku vendi book vangichu

john mary+dat for book buy+past

john bought a book for mary




  1. enikku pakaram avan varum

I+dat in place of he come+fut

He will come in place of me


From the above data, we can conclude that all Malayalam postpositions are conditioned by the case it’s previous noun takes. It also has been noticed that some postpositions occur after the nouns that take more than one cases. It can also be because of the semantic roles these postpositions play in the language.

Postpositions

English Correspondence

Semantic role

1. koodathe

without, apart from,besides

Manner related,content

2. ozhichu

Except for,besides

Manner related,content

3. patti

about

Manner related,content

4. Kurichu

about

Manner related,content

5. poole

As,like

Manner related,content

6. munpu/pinpu

before

Temporal, locational

7. sambandichu

According to

Manner related,content

8. koode

With,along,including

Manner related,content

9. nadukku

Amidst,between, in the middle of, among

Spatial, locational

10. chuttum

around

Spatial, locational

11. purakil

behind

locational

12. adiyil

Under,below,beneath,down

Locational, spatial

13. thaazhe

Under,below,beneath,down

Locational, spatial

14. arikil

Beside,near

locational

15. purathu

On,upon,above,on top of,

Locational , spatial

16. mukalil

On,upon,above,on top of,up

Locational spatial

17. kuruke

across

Directional

18. aduthu

Beside,near

Locational ,spatial

19. ethire

against

casual

20. idayil

between

Comparative,spatial

21. shesham

After,next

Temporal

22. appuram

Beyond,after

Locational , casual

23. munpe

Prior to,ahead of

Temporal, locational

24. munnil

In front of

Temporal, locational

25. ullil

In,inside,towards

Locational, spatial, directional,destination

26. akathu

In,inside

Locational, spatial

27. vendi

for

casual

28. pakaram

In place of

casual

29. muthal

From

Directional, source, destination

30. thottu

From,since

Directional, source, destination

31. ninnu

From

Directional, source, destination

32. vare

Till, until

Directional, destination


In the table above is a sum up of the semantic roles play by the Malayalam postpositions.


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