Tense, Scope, And Spreading in Saramaccan
A unified theory is developed in this paper to account in a comprehensive way for variable tense marking patterns in the serial verb constructions found in Saramaccan, a creole language of the central interior of Suriname. The disparate patterns include verb initial marking, tense copy, and the problematic single marking on any noninitial verb in a serial string. It is argued that regardless of which tense pattern occurs in a given serial structure, there is an essential typological unity which is best explained through the interrelated processes of scope and spreading. Moreover, because Saramaccan exhausts the logical possibilities for such marking, the analysis presented here should be applicable to other serial tense marking instantiations, a claim which is discussed in relation to Ijo and Fante in latter sections of the paper.
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