Setting up the Browser

  • Tooltips -- To view the tooltips available on some of the pages presented on this site, you need to make your browser Javascript-enabled and also set the browser to display the unicode character set (UTF-8). If you are not familiar with these settings, your computer administrator (or, a browser-friend) can help. See the next bullet item for directions. Of course, you can view these pages without setting up the browser, but don't be put off by any garbled text displayed if you run the cursor over an entry that has a tooltip.
  • Words displayed in Tamil script -- To view the words displayed in Unicode Tamil font, set your browser as follows:
         * On Internet Explorer, select the following menu option: View | Encoding | Unicode (UTF-8)
         * On Safari, select the following menu option: View | Text Encoding | Unicode (UTF-8)
         * On other browsers, follow similar setting requirements to view Unicode (UTF-8) font display


  •      See also "Grammar Project - Inputting nouns and verb stems" in the next section to know about inputting your nouns and verbs.


    Grammar Project

    The grammar project I have presented here is powered by my "Tamil grammar engine (TGE)," which I created with programs that I wrote in the computer language PHP.

    Currently, the project focuses on formal/literary Tamil forms. Accordingly, following the rules of formal/literary Tamil word formation, this engine generates all the declined forms of a given noun and the conjugated forms of a verb stem given in its imperative singular form.

    The generated forms are displayed in both Roman and Tamil scripts.

    You will get seven (7) declined forms for a given noun, and can get sixty three (63) conjugated forms for a verb. Given the nature of the language with its 2000+ years of uninterrupted usage, you may find some of the auto-generated forms of certain verbs "archaic" or just "*reconstrcuted." You may be pleasantly surprised though if you came across one of such forms in an obscure Tamil text!

    Grammar Project - What does it do?

  • For a given noun, the program returns the following declined forms:
        accusative, instrumental, dative, genitive, possessive, locative, and ablative

  • For a given verb (in its imperative singular form), the program returns the following conjugated forms, as specified, (in all three basic tenses--past, present, future--as applicable):

        * finite verb forms (in the past, present, and future tenses; total: 30)
          + first person singular
          + first person plural
          + second person singular
          + second person plural
          + Third person masculine singular
          + Third person feminine singular
          + Third person honorific
          + Third person human plural
          + Third person neuter singular
          + Third person neuter plural

        * participial nouns (in the past, present, and future tenses; total: 18)
          + Third person masculine singular
          + Third person feminine singular
          + Third person honorific
          + Third person human plural
          + Third person neuter singular
          + Third person neuter plural

        * participle forms (tense depends upon semantics; total: 10)
          + infinitive
          + adjectival-affirmative
          + adjectival-negative
          + adverbial-affirmative
          + adverbial-negative
          + conditional-affirmative
          + conditional-negative
          + immediative ("as soon as...")
          + concessive of fact ("even though...")
          + concessive of supposition ("even if ...")

        * modals (all non-past; total: 5)
          + imperative plural ("do ...")
          + imperative negative singular ("do not ...")
          + imperative negative plural ("do not ...")
          + permissive ("let xxx do yyy")
          + potential ("xxx may do yyy")
  • Grammar Project - How to use it?

  • To get the declined forms of a noun, all you need to know is the following:
        * type of the noun (animate/inanimate? pronoun? number?)
        * form of the noun (does it have two letters or more when written in Tamil? does it have a long vowel?)
        * ending (the vowel/consonant with which the noun ends--short vowel u or other?)
        Visit: Declined Forms of a Tamil Noun


  • To get the conjugated forms of a verb, you have two options:
        * If you know the class of the verb, visit: Conjugation Based on Verb Classes
        * If you do not want to be bothered with verb classes, don't worry but visit: Conjugation Based on Stem Endings
          Here, you need to know the following:
         + the vowel/consonant with which the verb stem ends
         + in some cases, whether the verb has a transitive or intranstive meaning
  • Grammar Project - Inputting nouns and verb stems

  • Keep in mind that nominal declension and verb conjugation depend upon the ending of the nominal/verb stem.
  • Most native or naturalized Tamil words end with any vowel other than short e or short o, or with one of the following consonants:
        N, m, y, r, l, z, L, n.
  • Old/Classical Tamil verb stems ve and no do end in short e and short o respectively. You can try them out here.
  • Currently, only nouns that end with the following letters are processed properly since they adhere to the rules of Tamil phonology:
         A, i, I (long i), u, U, E, ai, O, N, m, y, r, l, z, L, n
  • Some Tamil names may have an h when spelt in English, for example Sharmila. In such cases, leave out the h when inputting it here. So, type it as cArmiLA.

    Grammar Project - Known Issue: Display of certain words in Tamil script

  • The following verb forms end with the vowel a, but in the auto-generated Tamil forms the final vowel a is not displayed:
         * Positive/Affirmative adjective forms of certain verb stems that end with the short vowel u.
            For example, the positive adjectival form of OTu, which is OTina
         * Infinitive forms of verb stems that end with one the following consonants: y, r, l, L, n
            For example, the final vowel is not displayed in Tamil in the infinitive form ceyya.
         * Third person neuter plural (for example, ceytana)
            So, for now, I have decided not to display this form in Tamil script.


  • Literary Texts Project

    Visit Classical Tamil Texts