Grammatiese tydsvergestalting in Afrikaans : 'n linguistiese ondersoek aan die hand van enkele Afrikaanse kortverhale
Although many studies on the grammatical expression of time in Afrikaans have appeared since the beginning of this century (2.4), no systematic representation of tense and time has yet been given. Neither does the present study purport to make such a representation. The main aim of this study is rather to establish whether the Afrikaans language has adequate means for expressing time in narrative and. if so, to establish the way in which it is done. Rob Antonissen in 1961 (1.1) asked whether there might not be a connection between the fact that up to that time no epic novel of importance had appeared in Afrikaans and the peculiarities of past tense expression in Afrikaans. He hoped with this question to promote studies in the tense-system of Afrikaans. He explicitly stated that al I languages can be used for every style required by their users but he was of the opinion that Afrikaans writers did not exploit the possibilities of their language in respect of time expression. Up to date no adequate answer has been given to this question. The main reason for the failure of linguists to cope with the problem of time expression In Afrikaans is seen in this study to be the strong influence of traditional linguistics in which Latin grammar was taken as the model for all languages (2.1). From this point of view languages are thought to be the poorer if grammatical forms existing in Latin do not appear in their grammars. One of these misconceptions is that time expression should be part of the verb. Until now, all studies about time expression in Afrikaans have fallen into this trap although some of those Iinguists who fell into it had warned against this very trap (1.1). Time expression, as John Lyons has clearly shown (2.2.1), is a deictic category. With this as starting point a critical analysis is made of studies on Afrikaans time expression (2.4). The traditional concept of aspect and aktionoari is critically examined and found wanting in 2.2.3. Here it is shown that there are two distinct categories in what is normally considered as 'aspect'. Verbs have a definite aktionsart or aspectual character which can be directed but not changed. 1) Hulle arriveer van twaalf tot een. In this sentence (I) arriveer still retains its meaning of momentariness. Each separate arrival is completed at the moment of arrival, therefore it is not possible to say. 2) “Hy arriveer van twaalf tot een. Aktionsart or aspectual character is therefore seen, as F.J. Labuschagne (2.2.3) does, as a component of the meaning of the verb whereas aspect is the directing of this verbal character vis a vis a specific temporal point of reference by means of morphological and syntactical possibilities in the language as weIl as the coherence of the text in which the verb is used. Studies on Afrikaans time expression in the past always concentrated on morphological and syntactical aspects of the grammar and although lip-service was often given to text coherence as a factor of time expression this aspect was never followed to its logical conclusion. In this study the discourse as the prime unit of communication is treated as being the most important factor in time expression. This is done because the linguistic analysis of short stories requires that they are treated as discourses between a narrator and a reader. The point is made (3.1.2 and 3.1.3) that a discourse consists of both a text and a context. The text without a context is in terms of Jan Mukarovsky (3.1.3) an artefact with unrealised potentialities. Only within a context are these potentialities realised and interpretable. The context of a discourse consists of several elements (3.2): In the first place, there have to be at least two participants, a speaker and a hearer; secondly, every discourse has a specific spatial and temporal setting which includes a socio-cultural and historical function on which the presuppositions of the participants are founded. Space, time and function together form the scene or setting of the discourse. From this setting the subject of the discourse is derived. Discourse features like the channel, tone or formality, genre and code also develop from it. Finally the setting is focussed by the speaker in a deictic point-of-observation (2.2.1 and 3.2.1). This point-of-observation is a four dimensional unity consisting of the speaker as focal point, a hearer, the time of making an utterance and the place where the utterance is made. From this point or deictic centre observations are made and reference points both spatial and temporal are chosen. The deictic centre can never be referred to without losing its central observational character when it becomes just another reference point and no longer the deictic centre. The text (3.3) of a discourse is coherent because of ties which conjoin the relations of meaning within the text. The ties are of different kinds, for instance anaphora and anaphora. Different types of discourse exist and for this study it was necessary to distinguish between literary discourse on the one hand and other types of discourse (3.q). Within the broad spectrum of Literary discourse it was relevant for the study to distinguish between narrative and other types of literary discourse as weIl as between short story and other subgenres of narrative. To succeed in these distinctions the main differences between oral and written texts are Iisted. Types of texts are differentiated according to a system devised by Eugene Nida (3.4.3). A further division is made by means of the functional typology of language of Roman Jakobson .4.2). A main problem in this study was to differentiate between the task of the linguist and the task of the literary critic in the analysis of a work of literature. Finally It was decided (3.5 and 3.6.3) that the difference Iies in the function analysed rather than the medium and data which are analysed. The Literary discourse differs from "ordinary" discourse in referential 0.6.1), normative (3.6.2) and functional 0.6.3) aspects of language. Because of referential differences between a Literary and "ordinary" discourse two sets of contexts are found in short stories. On the one hand there is the contextual or real context and on the other hand there is a textual context which is derived from the text itself (3.7). The point is made that the discourse in a short story takes place between a narrator and the reader. Sometimes the reader becomes conscious of another person speaking in the text. In such cases the discourse exists between an implied or abstract author and the reader (22.214.171.124). In the latter case the narrator is treated as just another character or role in the story. The reader and the person he perceives as being the speaker are the participants in the discourse in which they share the same setting and therefore the same deictic point-of-observation. Time expression in the story is dependent upon this deictic centre and not in the first instance on the fictive deictic centre or centres (2.2.1) which come into being within the text. This fictive deictic centre is the point-of-observation shared by the characters in the story whose dialogue is shown, as it were, by the narrator to the reader (126.96.36.199). Textual time reference (3.8) depends on factors Iike sequence chronological order tense and textual coherence. For the sequence and chronological order in short stories the explication of these matters by Gerard Ginette (3.8.1 and 3.8.2) was taken as point of departure for this study. Several aspects of tense relations (3.8.5) like tense as a feature of narrative, tense as a value of narrative and tense as a creator of contrast in a story were considered to enable a better understanding of how time expression in Afrikaans short stories is realized. Finally it was decided that the treatment and evaluation of time expression in Afrikaans stories cannot be understood if all different aspects of the literary discourse are not taken into account; Eight Afrikaans short stories were analysed: Lettie by Gustav Preller Leuens by C.M. van den Heever Die Tuiskoms by J. van MelIe Kinders in die skemer by Elise Muller Hoogsomernag by Chris Barnard Swart-ys by Hennie Aucamp Terugkeer by P.J. Haasbroek Die Betlehem-ster by Henriette Grove It was found that time expression in each of these stories differed functionally. Although time expression in no two stories had the same function, time was, in the main, similarly expressed in all of them. Time expression and patterns of the verb do not correlate in Afrikaans. Normally it is taken for granted that the marked pattern: het (fe + verb and secondary forms of auxiliaries as well as the verb wees (I.e. was) are used for the expression of the past tense, whereas the unmarked pattern of the verb is used for the present and a dramatic presentation of the past. That this is not the case can be seen in the following simple sentences where adverbs are chosen to denote the time reference point: 3) (a) Die bus kom nou. (b) Gister kom die bus. (c) Môre kom die bus om 10h00. (d) Die bus het nou gekom. (e) Die bus het gister gekom. (f) Môre om 10h00 het die bus (al) gekom. The marked pattern of the verb always presupposes a time reference point in respect of which the action or state expressed by the verb is seen as completed. In a certain sense this verb does denote pastiness but then It is a past seen in respect of the given or implied time reference and not necessarily a time before the deictic centre. In other words, the marked pattern of the verb has an aspectual meaning of completion and not a tense meaning of past. Without an explicit or implicit time reference the verbal pattern as such cannot be treated as either past, future or present. Often it is found that no such time references occur in stories. By what means then is Afrikaans time expression realised? It is realised by the context and by the coherence of the text. In everything that Is said it Is possible to distinguish between what is known to the speaker and what is only observed and commented on. This is particularly true in a narrative. The hearer or reader perceives an utterance as either about something known or something observed. When something is known, the speaker makes certain value judgements in his speaking about it. Such judgements cannot be made in a running commentary of states, events and actions. 4) (a) Skielik sien hy ,die man. (b) Hy hoes n paar keer. (c) Naderhand hoor hy dit. (d) Versigtig draai hy om. (e) "Dit is die waarheid" vervolg hy. (f) ‘n Oomblik staan hy voor die deur. In all these sentences there is at least one word which communicates to the reader that that which is said is known to the speaker and it must therefore be either a recounting about what happened in the past or a prophecy about what stile has to happen in the future. This is the case because these words express something that is known to the speaker. Skielik in (q(a), for instance, presupposes that the speaker knew that everything happened at once or will happen at once for this reason it is Impossible to translate these sentences. Into English with a present continuous or even a simple present, except if they are used In a narrative told in the so-called historic present tense. 5) Suddenly he sees the man. The same Is true for ‘n paar keer in (4(b)). One cannot say that somebody coughed a few times if one does not either make a prophecy or describe something which has already happened. 6) a He coughs (is coughing) a few times. The most that one could do in a running commentary is something like 7) Hy hoes en hoes en hoes. He coughs and coughs and coughs. In each of the sentences in (IJ) the' element of knowing plays a role. Either of knowing what has happened or of knowing what will happen. Past and future time In Afrikaans are thus derived from the coherence in the text in which the speaker expresses his knowledge about an event. The past time can be distinguished from the future in three ways. The first is by means of direct and explicit time references to the time meant: secondly In the probability of occurrence which is modally expressed in future references and, thirdly, the more detailed expression of events that took place in the past. Timeless expressions which include generic and habitual expressions are distinguished from temporal expressions in the fact that they communicate events which transcend the temporal borders of the discourse. They are known and treated as such because of the total coherence of the text. Two verbal patterns in Afrikaans enable the speaker to contrast sequences of events and deictic centres. In stories they have the extra function of stylization and creation of nuances of meaning. In a story like for instance, the marked pattern receives the meaning of carefreeness, timelessness and repetition, whereas the unmarked pattern is used to denote temporality and chronological sequence. Time expression in Afrikaans is a complicated and multi-faceted category that cannot be explained only, If at all, by means of the verb and adverbial constructions or simple syntactical analysis. Time as such is not truly expressed, it is presupposed in the text and by the context. It is a misconception to treat verbal patterns in Afrikaans as if they are tenses of the verb. Once it is established what textual time is meant, all forms of aspect rather than tense expressed in other languages, can also be expressed in Afrikaans. As in other languages this is not a function of verbal forms alone but of the total coherence of text and context. In the final analysis it is not the structure of the language which communicates but the participants in the discourse.
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