Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/3442
Title: Formatives of Tense, Aspect, Mood and Negation in the Verbal Construction of Standard Swahili
Authors: Beaudoin-Lietz, Christa M.
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Swahili
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: Memorial University of Newfoundland
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 negat ive markers ha-, -si- and -to-; tense/aspect/rnood markers of the prefixal T AM position; the infinitive; the habitua1 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 fiarnework of sign theory; specifically, Guillaumian theory is applied to the analysis of tense and aspect using the modei 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-occurrencpe atterns 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- 'potentiai', 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 -ngafi-). Application of Guillaumian theory to the data of tense and aspect in Swahili lads to a differentiation into three chronogenetic stages. Other sets of formatives are discussed: dl three finals are distinguished by mood, and the negative markers, norrnally differentiated by their syntactic patterning, are here differentiated in meaning and function, according to their cosccurrence 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 typicai of distinctions in Bantu languages, fewer distinctions are made in the tenselaspect system than in many other Bantu languages.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11707/3442
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