Resultatives, progressives, statives, and relevance: The temporal pragmatics of the -ite Suffix in Totela

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This article presents the verbal suffix -ite in Totela (Bantu, Namibia and Zambia), which has variable temporal interpretations based both on lexical aspect (situation type) and on discourse context. The same -ite-marked predicate may be interpreted as referencing a situation that is past (resultative-like readings) or present (progressive-like readings) with respect to utterance time. The suffix is analyzed as having the aspectual function of a stativizer, asserting a relevant property of the utterance's subject. Temporal interpretations with respect to utterance time (or other perspective time) are derived from principles of relevance: the state described by an -ite-marked predicate is interpreted so that it answer the current question under discussion in discourse. The -ite suffix, most likely related to a historical resultative, still specifies a result state, but the temporal specifications of that result state are weakened and must be inferred through context. Cross-linguistic comparison of -ite with other markers that have both perfect/resultative and progressive readings suggests that the pragmatic notion of relevance – and not only commonalities in temporal semantics (e.g. focus on post-state; stativizing functions) – may be a key factor in the perfect/resultative/progressive connection.
Sidor (från-till)164-188
StatusPublicerad - 2013
Externt publiceradJa
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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