|This section requires expansion.|
The most characteristic features of Dravidian languages are:
- Dravidian languages are agglutinative.
- Word order is subject–object–verb (SOV).
- Dravidian languages have a clusivity distinction.
- The major word classes are nouns (substantives, numerals, pronouns), adjectives, verbs, and indeclinables (particles, enclitics, adverbs, interjections, onomatopoetic words, echo words).
- Proto-Dravidian used only suffixes, never prefixes or infixes, in the construction of inflected forms. Hence, the roots of words always occurred at the beginning. Nouns, verbs, and indeclinable words constituted the original word classes.
- There are two numbers and four different gender systems, the ancestral system probably having “male:non-male” in the singular and “person:non-person” in the plural.
- In a sentence, however complex, only one finite verb occurs, normally at the end, preceded if necessary by a number of gerunds.
- Word order follows certain basic rules but is relatively free.
- The main (and probably original) dichotomy in tense is past:non-past. Present tense developed later and independently in each language or subgroup.
- Verbs are intransitive, transitive, and causative; there are also active and passive forms.
- All of the positive verb forms have their corresponding negative counterparts, negative verbs.
Read more about this topic: Dravidian Languages
Famous quotes containing the word grammar:
“Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.”
—Richard Chenevix Trench (18071886)
“Hence, a generative grammar must be a system of rules that can iterate to generate an indefinitely large number of structures. This system of rules can be analyzed into the three major components of a generative grammar: the syntactic, phonological, and semantic components.”
—Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)
“I went to a very militantly Republican grammar school and, under its influence, began to revolt against the Establishment, on the simple rule of thumb, highly satisfying to a ten-year-old, that Irish equals good, English equals bad.”
—Bernadette Devlin (b. 1947)