WA Distinguished Professors' Lectures Series features internationally renowned scholars visiting the Faculty of English to share their research and professional expertise with WA faculty and students.
Time and tense reckoning in language:
Some misconceptions and some principles
Prof. Lionel Posthumus
Thursday, December 03, 2015, 18.30, C1
The lecture will discuss some misconceptions and basic principles underlying time and tense reckoning in language. While it focuses on the theoretical underpinning of the categories of “time” and “tense”, the elucidating examples will be primarily from the Bantu languages – Zulu in particular. Tense and temporal adverbials are the two most productive time reckoning devices in language marking time-space relations. While temporal adverbials mark time, tense is marked in the verb. Tense forms whose temporal interpretation is done from the ‘now’ of speech time are labelled absolute tenses, while those whose temporal interpretation is done from a reference point other than speech time are called relative tenses. A definition of tense should encompass both these tense sub-systems. The notion held by a number of linguists (including some prominent scholars) that the deictic centre can be shifted has furthermore contributed to misconceptions relating to tense analysis. The Bantu languages, like some other languages, distinguish between degrees of remoteness in the past and in the future and therefore also distinguish between different past and future tenses.
Lionel Posthumus is a professor in the Department of African Languages in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a co-ordinator of the Centre for African Language Teaching (CALT) focusing on research in the field of teaching African languages at the foundation phase and on developing quality study and supporting materials for this purpose.
Professor Posthumus is a linguist specialising in Bantu linguistics and his major research focus is in the fields of linguistic theory building, historical and comparative linguistics, language acquisition, text linguistics and lexicography. He has published four books, a number of book chapters and some thirty articles in peer reviewed journals, and has delivered numerous papers at national and international conferences, some of them as keynote speaker. He won the Via Afrika prize for the best scientific research article in the field of African languages in 1988 and was runner-up for this prize in 1990. He was also awarded the Bard Literary prize for his Zulu Folklore collection entitled Ezawokhokho.
Informację wprowadził/a: Joanna Zadarko