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Bookmark and Share Paper 1604

The Emergence of Tense in Early Bantu
Derek Nurse
164-179 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper examines the expression of aspect and tense in a selection of Bantu and non-Bantu Niger-Congo languages. Both sets of languages share a set of aspects. All Bantu languages also have a set of tenses (of varying size), superimposed on the inherited aspectual base, and the paper concludes that the emergence of tense was an innovation in pre- or Proto-Bantu. Grammaticalisation research over the last years has shown that individual aspects become tenses (and not usually vice versa). This paper proposes that a whole aspect-based system has added a tense component.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Doris L. Payne and Jaime Peña
Table of contents
Printed edition: $250.00