(Im)perfectivity and actionality in East Ruvu Bantu

Leora Bar-El, Malin Petzell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Temporal/aspectual morphology often serves as a diagnostic for actional classes. Bantu languages are known for their highly developed tense, aspect (and mood) systems. The East Ruvu Bantu languages of Tanzania are unusual in that they exhibit a decidedly reduced set of temporal/aspectual morphemes. This paper contributes to the growing body of research on Bantu actionality in showing that despite not being encoded overtly, perfective distinguishes between at least two actional classes. We suggest, however, that imperfective, morphologically encoded by present and non-past tense morphology, does not clearly delineate between the two verb classes. This discussion highlights the complex interaction between tense and aspect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-559
Number of pages27
JournalSTUF - Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Eastern Bantu languages
  • actionality
  • imperfective
  • perfective
  • tense


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