Tense and aspect in Langi*

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Langi, a Bantu language spoken in central Tanzania, has an intensely rich TAM system, combining both inherited Bantu and borrowed Bantu and non-Bantu structures. There are two main mechanisms called into play to express TAM. The first is agglutinating in nature, with inflected verbs which can contain up to 7 distinct elements, each with its own phonological, morphological, and cross-referencing specificities. The second is fragmenting in nature, with necessary argument and TAM markers being distributed over several elements. Moreover there is a wide array of possible combinations of and between the two, with word order, reduplication, tone and even intonation interacting. This article further seeks to demonstrate the importance of anchoring the study of TAM in texts.


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