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LINGUIST List 23.5251

Fri Dec 14 2012

Diss: General Linguistics: Forbes-Barnett: 'An Analysis of dual Aspectual Forms in Caribbean English...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 13-Dec-2012
From: Marsha Forbes-Barnett <marshaforbesgmail.com>
Subject: An Analysis of dual Aspectual Forms in Caribbean English Creoles: An event structure approach
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Institution: University of the West Indies
Program: PhD- Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Marsha Simone Forbes-Barnett

Dissertation Title: An Analysis of dual Aspectual Forms in Caribbean English Creoles: An event structure approach

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Cristina Schmitt
Silvia Kouwenberg

Dissertation Abstract:

In this dissertation I show that the existence of ‘dual aspectual’ forms in
Caribbean English Creoles (CECs) does not refute the Stative/Non-
stative distinction. Bickerton (1975) observed this distinction as
“crucial” in Creole languages and it has been useful in accounting for
the observation of a default Tense interpretation of the unmarked verb
in CEC among other phenomena. However, the case of property
items such as sik ‘sick’ weeri ‘tired’ redi ‘ready’ etc which appear in
both Stative and Non-stative use has raised a conceptual question for
the application of this distinction and whether it may unambiguously be
applied to verbs.

In this work, which assumes a compositional approach to Aspect, I
focus on the contribution of the verb. In addressing the challenge
posed by dual aspectual forms in CECs, I provide theoretical grounding
for the Stative/Non-stative distinction. From the perspective of primitive
Event structures and Pustejovsky’s (1988), (1991) observation of a
verb’s association with an Event Structure of State, Transition or
Process, I propose for CEC property items a classification based on a
combination of syntactic and semantic criteria. The analysis I propose
effectively allows for a classification of property items which includes
three main groups: Those items which are inherently Non-stative
(Transition), those that are inherently Stative (State) and do not appear
in Non-stative use and those that are inherently Stative but allow for
morphological derivation to express the Event Structure of either
Transition or Process. This captures the diversity in aspectual and
categorial status that has been indicated for these items but allows for
their association with a unique aspectual and categorial status.

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