A Preliminary Description of vanthu in Spoken Tamil


  • Suganya Rajendran Schmura University of Rochester


Although vanthu has only been described as a filler word or discourse marker in spoken Tamil, this word is being used in various grammatical functions in colloquial Tamil speech. An analysis of the syntactic constraints and distribution of The occurrences of vanthu in one Tamil speaker shows that vanthu is being used primarily as a topic marker, then as a copula, a discourse marker, and a quotative. This analysis of vanthu suggests a change in progress occurring in colloquial spoken Tamil and confirms the necessity of more formal linguistic analysis to be done in this informal register of Tamil speech which can reveal phenomena that cannot be observed in formal or written registers of Tamil.