Progressive Expressions in the Papiamentu Language

Abstract

Linguists have described the functions of the markers expressing the grammatical categories of tense, aspect, and modality in Papiamentu, a creole language spoken in the Caribbean. However, the connection between these markers and the aspectual meaning of the verbs they modify has not been extensively studied. This presentation addresses this relation by looking at sets of data, focusing on the expressions that code the progressive meaning in Papiamentu. I examined three expressions taking the imperfective marker "ta": one using the unmarked verb; one using a gerund; one using the adjective "bezig", meaning 'busy'. I picked examples of the expressions with the gerund and the ones with "bezig" from data of spoken Papiamentu collected online. A native speaker looked at the sentences containing these expressions and checked whether they can be replaced by any of the other two progressive expressions. From this examination the following conclusions can be drawn: "ta" cannot express a progressive meaning with certain punctual verbs; some stative verbs said not to be unable to take the imperfective marker "ta", could take it in the form of a gerund, thus having a progressive interpretation. This research sheds light on the limits of the marker "ta" expressing progressiveness on its own and emphasizes the need to look at different constructions expressing the same meaning.



Author Information
Patricio Varela Almiron, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Linguistics

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