Tense and aspect of performatives in isiXhosa

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 37, issue 2, 2017, pages: 149–161
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2017.1378167
Author(s): Alexander AndrasonDepartment of African Languages, South Africa, Mawande DlaliDepartment of African Languages, South Africa


Developed within the frames of cognitive linguistics and grammaticalisation theory, the present study analyses the relationship between the performative function in isiXhosa and its grammatical encoding in terms of tense and aspect. The evidence demonstrates that isiXhosa conforms to the cross-linguistically pervasive pattern relating performatives with determined types of temporal-aspectual grams. The compatibility with the performative function increases with the advancement of grams along the imperfective path, but decreases with their advancement along the anterior path. This relation further suggests a temporal-aspectual foundation underlying performatives, namely their completive essence (i.e. the idea of being completed).

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