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Journal for Language Teaching

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Some considerations when teaching the tense of Northern Sotho

L.C. Posthumus, M.S. Mabule

Abstract


A shortcoming in standard grammars and other discussions of tense in Northern Sotho (and the other Bantu languages) is that very little or no attention is given to the role that temporal adverbials play in the interpretation of time reference. No discussion on tense in Northern Sotho is complete without a proper account of the role that temporal adverbials play in the interpretation of time and tense yet a systematic account of this influence of temporal adverbials is absent in all treatment of tense in Northern Sotho. The aim of this article is to disclose the importance of temporal adverbials in the interpretation of time reference in Northern Sotho. Every scholar of Northern Sotho (or any other Bantu language) should take proper cognisance of the prominent role that temporal adverbials play in establishing time reference. A clear distinction is drawn between tense and time. While tense is defined as the verb form that marks the relation between event time and speech/coding time, time is defined as an expression of the relation between event time and coding time which is superimposed on tense. The factors that have an influence on time interpretation are temporal adverbials, the semantic verb phrase categorization, tense, aspect and the text and/or context. The major time-establishing device is the interrelation between tense forms and time adverbials.


(Journal for Language Teaching: 2002 36(3-4): 365-376)



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v36i3-4.5997
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