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The Acquisition of Bantu languages. Brown university: Bloomington: linguistics club. Katamba, F Modern linguistics morphology. New York: St. Kothari, C. Research methodology: methods and techniques 3 rd edition. Nurse, D et al Aspect and Tense in Niger Congo. Post a Comment. Home about me contact Downloads Articles Qoutations More.

Tense and aspect are very important in any language. Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………………i. Table of contents……………………………………………………………………………. Kisukuma is among Bantu languages. The researcher aims to analyze tense and aspect in Jimunasukuma dialect. Since tense and aspect are challenging in Kisukuma, the researcher deals with a single dialect of Kisukuma which is Jimunasukuma because every dialect has its own way of tense and aspect marking.

[PDF] Tense and aspect in Bantu - Semantic Scholar

Under this study, the research used the Lexical Phonology Model in this theory, the ward is the important feature rather than a morphological regarded as the key unit of morphological analysis. Under this study, the researcher used interview method, introspection method and observation method in data collection. Derek Nurse conducted a research on tense and aspect on Bantu. In data collection, the researcher used interview, introspection and observation research methods.

There are two types of interviews: structured and unstructured interviews Mugendo and Mugenda, Since the researcher is the native speaker of Jimunasukuma dialect applied this method in the study. This is the method that based on observing things around us Kothari In Kisukuma, tense is categorized into three types. Past tense. Present tense.

Future tense.

Aspect, tense and mood

Past tense in Kisukuma is marked in the position after the verb root. Examples: Affirmative form:. The negation affixes in Kisukuma are placed before the verb root. The Sukuma language negation affixes are. The past tense aspect in Kisukuma. The past tense aspect in Kisukuma is categorized according to the time of the event happened.

Verb Tense and Aspect - Parts of Speech

The near past aspect perfective. The far past aspect perfective. This is the aspect that shows the event which happened a long time ago. Examples: Affirmative:. Examples: Negation. Kisukuma has the progressive aspect which shows the event is in progress. Progressive Aspect in Affirmative. Examples: Affirmative. Also, in affirmative, Kisukuma is the tonal language that may use tones to show the future tense.

I am going to come tomorrow. Negation in Future Tense. In analyzing both the past and future tense in Kisukuma is the challenge. In analyzing tense and aspect in Jimunasukuma is the challenge. Botne, R Indian University. Demuth, K Email This BlogThis! Finally, I will offer a new proposal, which is a synthesis of the two different analyses. I propose that Mbugwe is in the process of reanalyzing the perfect forms as referring to different degrees of past, following a grammaticalization path which takes the verbal system from an aspectual system to a fully developed metric tense system.

Grammaticalization of tense and aspect in Mbugwe 2. The literature on tense and aspect is vast, as they are important but elusive grammatical categories, playing an important role in the grammar of most languages of the world. I follow Comrie in definitions and the differentiation between them, but as we shall see, I find that the categories are not always easy to keep apart. Nurse 13 holds that every tense-aspect form has a specific meaning, which is different from other forms.

They make up a coherent system, he claims, and therefore it is not difficult to separate tense from aspect, although the system is dynamic and flexible. As the investigation will show, it will not always be easy to decide if a morpheme represents tense or aspect, but like Nurse, I do assume that the morphemes make up a coherent, interlocking system. Bantu languages are well known for having a rich tense and aspect system see e. Dahl 85, They have many affixes which may attach to the verb stem, as well as periphrastic constructions which encode different tense and aspect categories.


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In addition, other grammatical categories are also expressed on the verb, such as subject, object, mood, negation, relativity, condition, focus and also verbal derivations often valency-changing, such as passive and applicative. This makes the verbs rather complicated and flexible, and Nurse identifies 11 traditional slots on the verb stem Nurse 31ff.

Some languages allow several morphemes in the TA slot, but most do not Nurse This is, however, not universal. When it comes to the encoding of tenses in Bantu, Nurse 80ff looks at typical or widespread markers for the past, present and future tenses. In indicative, the unmarked final vowel usually is -a. A large percentage also had -ile as a suffix but zero marking at the TA slot. This is an important point for my investigation, which we will look at in more detail later in the paper. Some languages have a null-past, which is quite interesting typologically, but is not relevant for this discussion.

In addition to their rich verbal morphology, Bantu languages are well known for the remoteness degrees of their tense system see for instance Dahl — It divides past and sometimes future time into two or more time frames, ranked from remote to close to the time of speaking the present. Nurse reports that some Bantu languages have up to five degrees of past and future, although the average number is two or three Nurse Dahl notes that this seems to be a universal tendency.

The hesternal category is often subdivided into several periods for multiple remoteness distinctions. The cut- off points for other remoteness categories are even harder to determine. Nurse does however note that for languages with three pasts, the most common categorization is hodiernal, hesternal and earlier than hesternal Some languages also have an immediate past, which refers to something that just happened Nurse When it comes to languages with several futures, they seem to be less rigid than the past systems, and some authors would say that the remote future is simply less certain than the near future, indicating that it could be a modal category rather than a temporal category Nurse 92 discusses this.

Another form is la a- or ra a -, which are probably allomorphs or reflexes of the same morpheme. Another form that is typical of Bantu languages in particular is the narrative tense Dahl —14; Nurse It is characterized by the fact that a string of situations, which happen in sequence, is marked by the same form, indicating that they are part of the same discourse.

Often, the first verb in the string gives the tense reference, and the consecutive ones share the same tense. Sometimes, however, the tense is not given, though it is clear from the context or otherwise clear to the hearers Nurse The perfect or anterior aspect is very common in Bantu languages. The a- element is therefore probably added in order to signal past time. Where the pattern a-…-a occurs as an anterior, it usually refers to present anterior.

In relation to this, Nurse 94ff, ff discusses a problem which is relevant to the current investigation: how to distinguish the near past from the anterior aspect. Recent events are more likely to be of relevance to the present than earlier events. There are several ways of testing whether a form is temporal or aspectual, if they indeed are separate, and Nurse suggests four ways of testing whether a form is anterior or near past Nurse 95—99 : The first test is systemic.

In some languages, aspect is always expressed in the post-stem FV position, and tense always in the TA pre-stem position, and there is no ambiguity between them. Sukuma, Swahili , and it appears to be difficult to apply to a language before the whole system is well known and understood. A second test is to look at compound constructions. In many languages, the auxiliary can have a tense marker or an aspect marker, but only a small set of aspect markers may appear on the second lexical verb.

Therefore, the second verb can never express tense, only aspect e. A fourth test is the range of reference of the morpheme. Does it refer to only today, or also previous events which either have some relevance to the present, or continue a state entered in the past, or do they appear recent in relation to some other distant past? In Giryama, dza is both a recent past and an anterior, according to Nurse Nurse also observes that many languages indicate different degrees of past with a length or tone distinction involving a, both in the TA pre-stem position, and in the FV post-stem position Other typical pasts are a-…-ile, with varying tones on both affixes.

A long aa usually encodes other pasts, or even future, and very rarely near past or anterior. He concludes that the a-…-a forms seems to have originally referred to general past, but then being restricted to near past or anterior, whereas a-…-ile, originally encoding past anterior aspect, came to refer to a more remote past. The often multiple tense distinctions have arisen at a later stage. There is therefore reason to assume that the temporal categories, and especially the different degrees of temporal distance, are younger than the aspectual categories.

Beyond the past, present, and future: towards the semantics of ‘graded tense’ in Gĩkũyũ

The verbal system of Mbugwe We now turn to the verbal system of Mbugwe, and the data at hand. My starting point is Mous , as I have limited data from elsewhere. He holds that it is incomplete, and probably needs to be revised. Still, his analysis gives an impression of a rich verbal system Table 1, below. This statement appears a bit vague, and the difference between the past perfect and the far past is not clear. Let us take a closer look at the verb forms he refers to, and investigate their semantics.

Mous refers to the form which includes this morpheme, and a high tone on the final vowel, as far past. A phonological analysis is still in progress. An acute accent on vowels denotes a high tone; low tone is not marked.


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Numbers which are not followed by SG or PL refer to noun classes. See Mous The exact time frame is to be investigated further, but there is little doubt that this form refers to a remote past time. Therefore it is natural to question whether it has primarily an aspectual anterior meaning, or if it refers mainly to a time frame, such as middle past, even if its suffix is a typical Bantu anterior marker.

In the typical past perfect meaning, a past state is related to an even earlier situation Comrie 53 , but in this example there is only one event, and it is not related to any other event. The form fulfills the conditions for a typical past perfect, as it refers to a past state which is related to an even earlier situation Comrie It might however also be interpreted as a middle past, as it happened within a week from the time of the event of returning.

This example 7 This is a reflex of the more common Bantu suffix -ile, discussed in the previous section. This is something that needs to be checked. In this example there is no apparent present relevance of the event, other than that it happened not long ago. It therefore looks like it is near past, but it is difficult to draw a conclusion based on only this example.

Om Tense and Aspect in Bantu

In narratives, this form is sometimes used with what might very well be a perfect reading, as in example 5 , but as noted above, these forms are hard to interpret, and further research is needed in order to confidently identify the form as aspectual or temporal, if that is even possible. Note that the English translation uses the past perfect, and not the present perfect. Future time reference Before I proceed into the alternative analysis in more detail, I will look briefly at the future forms in Mbugwe, in order to check whether there could be several degrees of future time reference, as there might be in the past tense.

It is therefore plausible to assume that this form indicates near future. This is also supported by the data collected by the Larsens, and it is the label they have given to this form. This might be an earlier stage of the grammaticalization process of -ja coming to denote future tense, but it could also be a middle future. It is interesting to note that the same marker is used in the irrealis form, which fits well with the idea of something which takes place in a distant future.

More research is needed in order to determine whether this form has an irrealis sense, as the prefix ka- is very common in Bantu verb morphology Botne It is also interesting to note that Botne gives an example of an F zone language Sumbwe, F.


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I have refrained from giving the -ka morpheme a label, until more is known about the nature of this form. An alternative analysis In his Appendix 2 Nurse presents an analysis of the tense and aspect system of Mbugwe, shown here in Table 2. Nurse does not take a stand as to which of the two analyses is correct, and based on the data presented in this paper, it seems that they both are possible for Mbugwe. The fact that there seem to be at least two degrees of the future tense also supports the theory that there are several degrees of past, although it does not prove it, as one anonymous reviewer pointed out.

In this new system the pre-stem marker simply represents past, while the aspectual suffixes with some minimal help from tone have been recycled to refer to different degrees of past. Interestingly, Stegen asserts that Rangi F. Comparing the Rangi system with the core Bantu F group, Stegen presents the analysis given here in Table 3. This test is a bit circular, as one must know how the system works before one can determine if the tense and aspect markers are always separated.

Until more is known about the Mbugwe tense and aspect system, this test is not possible. The test concerning compound constructions does not work on Mbugwe either, as the periphrastic forms are very different form the typical Bantu pattern. No tense or aspect is marked on the main verb, which is in infinitive form, and the auxiliary seems to be able to mark both tense and aspect. More research is needed in order to determine what role aktionsart plays in the Mbugwe verbal system. The final test is the range of reference of the morpheme.

Mer fra Derek Nurse

From the analysis it is clear that the form which is called perfect, or near past, refers mainly to the day of speaking, but also to previous events which either have some relevance to the present, or a continuation of a state entered in the past. When considering it as a case of grammaticalization of the anterior into different degrees of past, it is not surprising that the recent past is hard to distinguish from the anterior aspect.

It could in fact be that this form in particular can function as both a hodiernal recent past and as anterior, and the differentiation we want to make between them might not exist in the language at this stage. My proposal then, is that Mbugwe is in the process of reanalyzing the perfect and past perfect forms as different degrees of past.

At the present stage both a metric, purely temporal reading and an aspectual, perfect reading are possible for the two forms which have the perfect suffix. The new, integrated analysis, based on the present discussion, and including some additional information from my SIL colleagues, is presented in Table 4. The negative forms need to be investigated independently, but are labelled in analogy with the positive forms for now. Conclusion and future research The data presented in this paper suggest that Mbugwe is in the midst of a process of reinterpreting the past verb forms as different degrees of past, instead of having a primarily aspectual function.

This paper is the result of an initial survey only, and should be taken as such. Clearly a lot more data and a deeper understanding of the language are necessary in order to confirm the hypothesis put forth here.