Tense, aspect and Modality in a radical creole: The case of Saamáka
Marleen van de Vate
January 2011

This dissertation aims to provide an empirically driven and theoretically informed study of the tense, aspect and modality system of Saamáka (or Saramaccan), an English/Portuguese based creole spoken along the Suriname River, Suriname. The ambition of this dissertation is three-fold; First, to explore the semantic interpretations and syntactic distribution of each individual (core) tense, aspect and modality morpheme. Second, to establish the hierarchy of functional projections in the IP domain. Third, to validate whether Saamáka conforms to the universal hierarchy of functional projections as proposed by Cinque (1999, 2001). These goals are intertwined such that in order to validate the universal hierarchy of functional heads, it is necessary to investigate the semantic and syntactic characteristics of each individual tense, aspect and modality morpheme. Once it has been determined what the characteristics of a certain functional item are, it is possible to establish the overt manifestation of clausal functional heads of the language which can be compared to Cinque's universal sequence. A strong semantic and syntactic study of the IP domain of Saamáka not only contributes to the description of an underrepresented language and therefore to the understanding of language structure in general, but also makes a comparison with other languages more accessible. Such a comparison is relevant for the field of linguistics in general in that it will be informative regarding possible language structures which will contribute to the universal grammar debate and it is also relevant for the field of Creole Studies in that a comparison with other creole languages and/or substrate languages contributes to the creole genesis debate.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001378
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/001378)
Published in: Ph.D. dissertation, University of Tromsø
keywords: carthography; tense; aspect; modality; syntax/semantic interface; creole, semantics, syntax
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