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|Title:||A morpho‐semantic analysis of the persistive, alterative and inceptive aspects in Siswati|
|Authors:||Nichols, Peter John|
|Abstract:||This study develops an analysis of three aspects in siSwati, a southern African Bantu language spoken in Swaziland and South Africa: PERSISTIVE aspect, encoded by the aspect marker -sa-, ALTERATIVE aspect, encoded by -se- and INCEPTIVE aspect encoded by be-. A distinctive characteristic of two of the aspects is that they link two separate time periods and so I have described them as dual-time period aspects. One is the PERSISTIVE which is an aspect already well-documented and studied cross-linguistically in the Bantu languages and other groups and the other I have analysed as the ALTERATIVE which is a new term I have applied to an aspect not formerly recognized in linguistic studies. The PERSISTIVE aspect links two separate time periods in which an activity is persisting in both or not persisting in both, while the ALTERATIVE aspect links two separate time periods with an activity polarity switch (same activity) or an activity switch (different activity). The INCEPTIVE aspect indicates the beginning of (with stative verbs), or entry into (with dynamic verbs) a situation or state. In siSwati temporal cognition, change (ALTERATIVE) is afforded greater salience than continuity (PERSISTIVE). The PERSISTIVE has two senses differentiated by whether external forces are surmounted or not, so a PERSISTIVE aspect which describes a situation that continues unopposed is ‘weak’, and one which describes a situation surmounting obstacles is ‘strong’ and -sa- encodes ‘weak’ PERSISTIVE. The ALTERATIVE has a sub-sense which encodes Exclusivity. The analysis is set within the framework of the cognitive linguistic enterprise and draws on Botne and Kershner's cognitive approach to the analysis of Bantu TAM systems (Botne and Kershner, 2008) and their tertiary timeline, dual domain cognitive model which can be used effectively to represent and analyse the dual-time period aspects. Fauconnier’s Mental Spaces Theory supplemented by Cutrer's recent work is also applied in representing my research findings (Cutrer, 1994, Fauconnier, 1985) and the cognitive approach produces fresh insights into the roles of -sa- and -se- as space builders and dual-time period aspect markers and be- as a tense/aspect marker and auxiliary.|
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