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