Tense, Aspect and Mood/Modality (TAM) Systems of Sɛlɛɛ


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Linguistics


This project seeks to provide a detailed description and analysis of the tense, aspect and modality (TAM) system in Sɛlɛɛ, a Ghana-Togo Mountains (GTM) language of the Kwa group of the Niger-Congo language family. Studies conducted on verbal morphology in languages of the Kwa group have shown that Aspect and Modality play a more central role in the grammar of verb than Tense. Tense on the other hand features more prominently in European languages. Sɛlɛɛ presents an exception to the discussion on Tense in Kwa. Preliminary investigation reveals that Sɛlɛɛ exhibits remoteness distinction in the past: hodiernal (today past) and prehodiernal (yesterday past). The project focuses on three inflectional categories of verb grammar; (a) Tense, (b) Aspect and (c) Modality, from a typologically perspective. This research will represent primary data for cross-linguistic studies as well as contribute to the on-going discussions on Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Niger-Congo language family.