Tense and aspect in the verbal system of Wolof*

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Perfective aspect is the unmarked form of the Wolof verbal system. It is analyzed here as an aspectual by-product of the conjugation’s core meaning, induced by three different configurations: resulting state (Perfect), temporal presupposition (focusing conjugations), and a comprehensive view of the process (Null tense and Presentative). The primary conjugations enter into secondary oppositions by means of aspectual and temporal suffixes. Alongside the expected aspectual and temporal effects for the imperfective suffix, the Wolof aspectual system reveals a remarkable shift, conditioned by Aktionsarten, from a temporal to a modal meaning. The imperfective suffix has a predicative variant. These two variants are used to produce two distinct future tenses. They also combine to form imperfective compound conjugations referring to occasional events.


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