Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Predication focus — a category where the predicate or a part thereof constitutes (or is part of) the sentence focus — is frequently encoded across the Bantu family by inflectional or morphosyntactic means. This phenomenon is associated with another observation which is rather unexpected at first glance. There often exists a formal parallel between marking devices of predication focus on the one hand and of present progressive on the other. This is valid across Bantu for a number of different morphological or syntactic forms. Some cases even suggest that this “isomorphism” can result from a directional grammaticalization change from predication focus toward progressive. As the formal and historical relation between the two categories cannot be viewed as accidental, an explanation is called for. Although progressivity and focus pertain to different functional domains, their relationship can indeed be motivated. The present proposal elaborates the previous hypothesis by Hyman and Watters (1984) that the progressive is an inherently focused verb category. Thus, the paper throws light in particular on the pragmatic import of progressives beyond their semantic aspect of time marking.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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