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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) |Volume VI, Issue X, October 2022|ISSN 2454-6186

Tense and Aspect in North-Western Edoid

 Simeon Olaogun1, Oluwaseun Oyelade2
1Department of Linguistics and Language, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko Ondo State, Nigeria
2Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Ibadan, Ibadan Oyo State, Nigeria

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: Tense and aspect are a universal category. That is, there is no natural language in the world that does not have some means of expressing the relationship between the time of an event and its reporting (tense) and the duration of an action expressed by the verb in a clause (aspect). However, the morpho/phono-syntactic features of tense and aspectual markers viz their distribution and interaction differ from one language to another. The paper, therefore, compares Àbèsàbèsì with Òssé, with a view to proposing a unified analysis for all of the distributional nuances of tense and aspect markers in these two subgroups. It is observed among other things that in Àbèsàbèsì, each of tense and aspect realization has three forms conditioned by vowel harmony. Also, in Àbèsàbèsì, perfective markers occur pre-verbally yielding to aspect-verb order but in Proto Òssé, they occur in clause final positions yielding to verb-aspect order. In an attempt to present a unified systematic account of the intra-and/or inter-lingual tense and aspect variations, the paper, using the minimalist program, argues that the aspectual head (Asp0) in Proto Òssé has Extended Projection Principle feature which is satisfied by pied-piping the whole VP to the specifier of Aspectual Phrase.

Keywords: minimalist program, pied-piping, extended projection, principle and specifier.

I. INTRODUCTION

The existing works such as Bull’s (1963), Omamor (1982), Táíwò (2003), Fabunmi (2009), Norbert, (2009), Olaogun, (2011), Olumuyiwa, (2013), John (2013), Egbert (2019), Adeoye (2019), Eliane (2020) and Nwizug and Nwala (2021) have empirically established that tense and aspect are elements of Universal Grammar in that, there is no known natural language in the world that is devoid of tense and aspect system. However, the morpho/phono-syntactic features of the tense and aspectual system differs from dialect to dialect, language to language and from one language subgroup to another. This being the case, this paper compares Àbèsàbèsì (a subgroup of Edoid Language family spoken in both Akoko North Eastern and Akoko Northwestern Local Government Areas of Ondo State, Nigeria) with Ìpè (Ùkùè) and Ìsùà (Ùhàmù) another subgroup of Edoid language family classified as Proto Òssé under North-western Edoid) with a view to proposing a unified analysis for all of the distributional nuances of tense and aspect markers in these two subgroups. We observe that in Àbèsàbèsì, tense and aspect have morpho/phono-syntactic features in that, each of the tense and aspect realization has three forms: bá bó and bé whose distributions are conditioned by the harmonic feature of the vocalic element in the following syllable. Also, in Àbèsàbèsì and other dialects within the subgroup, perfective aspect markers occur pre-verbally yielding to aspect-verb order but in Ìpè and Ìsùà, they occur in clause final positions yielding to verb-aspect order. Lastly but never the least, when future tense and perfective aspect co-occur in a clause, the perfective marker linearly comes before the future marker in Àbèsàbèsì, as opposed to the universal word order of tense coming before aspect. Attempting to present a unified systematic account of the intra-and/or inter-lingual tense and aspect variations, the paper, using the minimalist program and cartographic approach with insight from Pollock’s (1989) Split-Infl and Borer-Chomsky Hypotheses, argues that the aspectual head (ASP0) in Ìpè and Ìsùà has Extended Projection Principle (EPP) feature which is satisfied by pied-piping the whole VP to the specifier of Aspectual Phrase leaving the Aspectual morpheme stranded in clause final position: It is also shown that, although at the surface realization, it appears that Aspectual Phrase AspP dominates Tense Phrase TP in Àbèsàbèsì, this poses an interesting challenge to universal hierarchical order of TP dominating AspP. However, the paper proposes that Asp0 raising such that Asp0 adjoins to T0 for the realization of Àbèsàbèsì aspect-tense surface order. The paper is organized into six sections. The first section introduces the focus of the paper. Section two and three provide information about language classification and the theoretical orientations adopted in this work. Section four explains the research statement. Section five gives detailed explanations on the tense and aspectual system in the North-western Edoid. Section six touches on the syntactic derivation of clauses containing perfective aspect and future perfective tense, and their implication for Universal Grammar while section seven concludes the work.