Vol 28 No 3 (2019): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

Mengaka tense-aspect system

Eliane Sonkoue Kamdem
University of Bayreuth, Germany
Published December 31, 2019
  • Mengaka,
  • Grassfields,
  • tense,
  • aspect,
  • language description


This paper has one main goal: to provide a first description of the tense-aspect system of Mengaka. The paper indicates that Mengaka shows various tenses (past tenses, a present tense, a future tense) and aspects (perfective, habitual, progressive). Furthermore, the dividing lines between the degrees of past in Mengaka appear to be at least basically rigid. It is also argued in this paper that the tense-aspect system of Mengaka can be analysed as operating according to twelve tense-aspect categories. These categories may have one or more than one basic use. Also, they may be manifested by any of the following: the lack of a tense and an aspect marking, a tonal alternation, a free-standing marker or the use of a construction which may include tense and/or aspect markers and a nasal verb prefix.