SETSWANA LEXICAL EXPRESSIONS OF TIME
This paper explores the way time is lexically expressed in Setswana. Using data from a Setswana corpus, the study isolated instances of temporal reference for linguistic analysis. The paper demonstrates that Setswana uses varied devices such as temporal adverbs (e.g. maabane ‘yesterday’ and phakela ‘in the morning’) and spatial metaphors (e.g. pele ‘ahead, before, in front, first’ and morago ‘behind, after, at [the] back’) to express time. Even though Setswana has adapted metric ways of showing time such as calendar months and days, the discussion shows that temporal reference in traditional Setswana was event-based (e.g. based on movements of the sun and seasonal change). The study shows that Setswana lexical expressions of time are bound up with the ways in which Setswana speakers conceptualise time.
Keywords: Setswana, Bantu, temporal reference, time in language, temporal deixis