Vol. 11:1 (1996) ► pp.45–70
Aspect, Tense, or Aktionsart?
The Particle Ja in Kristang (Malacca Creole Portuguese)
This paper attempts to determine whether the particle ja in Kristang (spoken in Malacca, Malaysia) functions as part of an aspect, a tense, or an aktionsart system. The paper first argues that ja does not mark the perfective in an aspectual system. Second, it argues that ja does not mark the past in a tense system. It then argues, instead, that ja marks an aktionsart category, namely, a change of state. The paper concludes by noting some historical changes in the usage of ja and speculates about some incipient changes in the Kristang system as a whole. The analysis of this particle in different conversational settings suggests that for some speakers ja marks the present relevance of events that occurred in the past. This usage of the particle relates to its original adverbial semantics in Portuguese, where já means 'already'. However, it is argued that this change in the usage of the particle has been induced by English. English is now the dominant language for many Kristang speakers and it has a semantically very similar present perfect. It is on the basis of these similarities that ja is determined to be largely a perfect marker for some Kristang speakers.
Cited by 3 other publications
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