Article published in:Language Issues in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Edited by Paula Prescod
[Varieties of English Around the World G51] 2015
► pp. 141–164
Creole reflexes of do
Zeroing in on tense, aspect and modality in Vincentian Creole
After providing a brief description of du ‘do’, duhz ‘does’, and did ‘did’, the functions of duhn ‘done’ in Vincentian Creole are analysed. While some duhn uses illustrate an aspectual function reminiscent of the completive semantics of English ‘done’, Vincentian duhn cannot be accounted for as a simple marker of completive aspect. In fact, only its combination with dynamic verbs affords it the completive reading. Drawing on the intricate interplay of temporal, aspectual and modality properties observed, the study contends that the semantic characteristics of the verbs which this morpheme combines with significantly condition their interpretation and that the choice of duhn allows speakers to focus on entry into states or events or continuative aspect depending on predicate types. Furthermore, it is shown that speakers of Vincentian Creole did not randomly create new functional markers. Instead, linguistic elements which were already at work in other linguistic systems the speakers were in contact with were transferred into new linguistic systems and restructured. Essentially, these “borrowed” morphemes lent themselves to semantic and functional transfers. Keywords: completive; habitual and inceptive aspect; continuative; aspectual closure; stative and dynamic verbs; Vincentian creole
Published online: 12 February 2015
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