Formatives of tense, aspect, mood and negation in the verbal construction of standard Swahili

Beaudoin-Lietz, Christa A. M. (1999) Formatives of tense, aspect, mood and negation in the verbal construction of standard Swahili. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The study analyzes formatives which express the categories of tense, aspect, mood and negation (polarity) in the verbal construction of Standard Swahili (KiSwahili), a Bantu language belonging to the Sabaki group (G42). The formatives explored are the three negative markers ha-, -si- and -to-; tense/aspect/mood markers of the prefixal TAM position; the infinitive; the habitual marker; and finals -i, -e and -a. First analyzed individually, the sets of formatives are then discussed in relation to one another. The analysis is conducted from a morpho-semantic point of view within the theoretical framework of sign theory; specifically, Guillaumian theory is applied to the analysis of tense and aspect using the model of chronogenetic staging. -- Standard Swahili, unlike many Bantu languages, has only one position, position 4, where tense and aspect are expressed. The formatives of that position are discussed individually, contrasting their semantics and co-occurrence patterns with other formatives of the same position in simple and compound verb forms. The study shows that tense is only marked once, and that there are three aspectual distinctions in affirmative forms, which include the formative -ki- 'potential', whose analysis provides an explanation of its many contextual meanings. The analysis also includes formatives of the prefixal position to the verb root that do not express tense or aspect (for example, the formative -ka- ’consecutive’ and the hypothetical formatives -nge- and -ngali-). Application of Guillaumian theory to the data of tense and aspect in Swahili leads to a differentiation into three chronogenetic stages. -- Other sets of formatives are discussed: all three finals are distinguished by mood, and the negative markers, normally differentiated by their syntactic patterning, are here differentiated in meaning and function, according to their co-occurrence patterns with formatives of position 4 and finals. The negative formative -si-, one of the two major markers, expresses descriptive negation, and ha- expresses negation of the whole representation or the failure of the event over its temporal specification. -- While the categories of negation in Standard Swahili are typical of distinctions in Bantu languages, fewer distinctions are made in the tense/aspect system than in many other Bantu languages.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1154
Item ID: 1154
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 286-296.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Swahili language--Tense; Swahili language--Aspect; Swahili language--Mood; Swahili language--Negatives

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