A reconstruction of the proto-rutara tense/aspect system

Muzale, Henry R. T. (1998) A reconstruction of the proto-rutara tense/aspect system. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This study begins by locating the Rutara subgroup in the major group of Lacustrine, and by showing its internal relationships, lexicostatistically, phonologically, lexically, and morphologically. All these show that Rutara is a coherent linguistic group that originates from one common ancestral language labelled as Proto-Rutara. Out of this have evolved most of the differences that distinguish its daughter languages today. Following the classification of Rutara languages, a basic description of the tense/aspect (T/A) systems for eight languages of the group is presented. The description takes a cognitive approach, partly stemming from Guillaume's concept of chronogenesis (which concerns the mental time image and stratification of the development of verbal systems from simple to more complex forms), in the light of historical and comparative linguistics. Thus, the description has two levels: first, the analysis of the basic meanings of various T/A formatives, from simple forms to complex and compound markers, which constitute various T/A systems in the eight sample languages studied and, second, a comparative study of these formatives and markers across the group. The analysis surveys and reveals both the basic as well as the extended functions of the formatives, from a morphosemantic, morphosyntactic, and cognitive point of view. Consequently, the study proposes the levels at which the development of T/A in the Rutara languages exists. -- From the cognitive point of view, the mechanisms behind the apparent asymmetry found, for instance, in the markers for Past and Future tenses, as well as in the Persistive and Progressive aspects are explained. Similarly, various cognitive and psychosemantic reasons for the innovation of different T/A markers, and reasons for combining simple formatives to create complex markers are also established. It is argued that these processes led to the mechanism of recycling and reassigning formatives in terms of their functions, alongside phonological, morphological and semantic changes in the system(s). These complex and recycled verbal systems have created a number of distinctive tenses and aspects, most of which are characterised by morphological syncretism. Finally, the Proto-Rutara T/A system is reconstructed. This study thus shows how different markers have developed diachronically into their contemporary forms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11114
Item ID: 11114
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves p.253-274.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1998
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bantu languages--Classification; Bantu languages--Aspect; Bantu languages--Tense

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