By J. Thomas Rimer
Offers tale outlines, authors' biographies, and information for examining fifty chosen works of jap literature from the classical and sleek sessions.
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Additional resources for A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature
Of course, English and other languages are quite capable of articulating such ontic and cognitive nuances with their own various means; but Tamil modality is strongly integrated into the verbal strings with their potentially very precise and often cumulative sets of nuance. Thus denotative factuality, though no less present in Tamil than in other languages, can very rapidly slip into semifactual or entirely nonfactual expression carried by both morphological and lexical means. If one adds to this particularly thick set of modal devices the omnipresent aspectual morphology of the Tamil verb—that is, the use of verbal chains, or so-called auxiliary verbs, to define the action as either fully completed or as continuing in one of several possible patterns, in all three tenses—the result is a supple, systemic expressivity beautifully suited to specifying what happens in the sentence (in particular, the nature and meaning of an action either as enacted in external space or as transpiring, or undergoing interpretation, somewhere in the mind).
As a result, this lyrical yet simple prose passage is peppered with finely shaded modal forms of several types. Sometimes an explicit verb colors the hypothetical statement: “It seems that” (toṉṟukiṉṟatu). Sometimes we have a direct word of supposition: “It’s as if ” or “it must have been the case that” (polum) or “it’s possible that” (kūṭum). Most of the modal forms, however, are built into the agglutinative verbal strings. For example: viḷaiyāṭavāvatu ceyyalām (“at least I might be able to play,” with verbal suffix -alām, of possibility / potential / desire, added to the verbal root) ĕṉakkut toṉṟiyirukka veṇṭum (“I probably thought” < auxiliary verb veṇṭum, “to want, need, must do” + modal verb toṉṟu + irukka “would have”: so, literally, “It must be that I would have thought”) nāṉ ĕtti pārtt’irukkalām (“I guess I may have peeked out,” again with the modal suffix [kk]]alām; literally, “It could be that I would have peeked out”) pārttārkaḷām (“They say that they saw me there,” < reported speech with –ām tacked on to a past-tense verb) And so on.
The names of modern Tamil authors generally appear using the English spellings they themselves adopted. Very common and familiar names, or some modern ones that have many English equivalents—Kamban, Caminat’aiyar, and Minatcicuntaram Pillai, also deity names—appear in phonetic approximation without diacritics. The Sanskrit retroflex sibilant ṣ is marked as sh. Vocalic ṛ appears as ri. For readers who would like to try to pronounce words and names in the Tamil way, the following rules may be helpful: Consonant-stops, such as k, t, ṭ, and p, are unvoiced in initial position and also when doubled.
A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature by J. Thomas Rimer