Tense and aspect in Kikongo: A descriptive, comparative and diachronic approach to form and function

01 October 2014 → 30 September 2018
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Language studies
    • Literary studies
Kikongo time
Project description

When one thinks about tense in language, one intuitively knows that one can indicate whether an event happens in the past, the present or the future, and that one uses different means for placing such an event before, during or after ‘the moment of speech’. For the English future one most commonly uses the auxiliary ‘will’ (e.g. ‘I WILL walk three kilometers later today’), but for the past one pastes -ED onto the end of the verb (e.g. ‘I walkED three kilometers today’).
From looking at the dialectal diversity in any language, one can say that a language can show a great deal of variation. The most profound differences are often thought to be the varying pronunciation or different words used when speakers of different dialects of the same language hear each other speak. Dialectal differences pertain not only to sounds and words, but also to other elements of the language such as the grammar.
Our research will focus on how four dialects of Kikongo, spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, express notions such as past, present and future, and what the differences are between the four different dialects in this regard.