Tense and aspect in Ekegusii: A minimalist analysis
Odero, Erick O
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The primary objective of this study is to investigate the tense and aspect systems of Ekegusii, a Southern Bantu language, within the theoretical framework of the Minimalist Program (MP). In this endeavor, the study seeks to give a detailed and critical analysis of the distinction between tense and aspect in verbal expressions in the language. This study will also evaluate the applicability of the MP in the analysis of the tense and aspect systems ofEkegusii. As the theoretical framework within which this study is conducted, the MP is the most recent outgrowth of the theory of Generative Grammar (GG), originally developed in Chomsky (1957,1965), and immediately preceded by the Government and Binding (GB) theory (Chomsky 1981). The study establishes the MP's ability to account for the morpho-syntactic nature of the verbal system ofEkegusii. Chapter one gives a basic background to the study. It provides an introductory description of the language of study, the statement of the problem, the objectives of the study, the hypotheses, the rationale of the study, scope and limitation, the theoretical framework, literature review, and the research methodology adopted for the study. Chapter two provides a general description and analysis of the Ekegusii verbal system. It discusses the verb root, the infinitive form of the verb as well as the final vowel. It also examines the subject and object '. markers, the negation. morpheme, focus and other derivational verbal extensions as well as the question formation by suprafixation of tone. Chapter three bears the core of this study. It discusses aspect, which is also established to be very widely distributed in the Ekegusii verbal system. The perfective and the imperfective aspectual categories are discussed in detail. Again, co-occurrence of tense and aspect is explored, establishing the suprafixation of grammatical tone to mark tense, with aspect also morphologically marked. Movement for feature checking for aspect is also illustrated. Chapter four, which is also core to this study, examines the Ekegusii tense system in the past and the non past (present and future), establishing the marking of tense both by affixation, suprafixation of the grammatical tone and by adverbials. It also explores the relevance of grammatical tone in tense marking as well as the co-occurrence of tense and aspect in the Ekegusii verbal system. It is also established, in this chapter that aspect takes over the marking of tense in Ekegusii. Movement for feature checking for tense, as proposed in the MP, is also demonstrated. Finally, chapter five gives a brief summary of the study and the findings of the research. It also gives a number of recommendations for further research. The adequacy of the MP in analyzing the tense and aspect features in Ekegusii is confirmed.