This study deals with the verbal markers of tense, mood and aspect (TMA) in Cape Verdean Creole (CVC), focussing on the influence of context and time adverbials in determining the markers’ meaning. It is based on a corpus recorded in Fazenda, a small fishing community in the Tarrafal district of Santiago Island (cf. Appendix).
CVC verbal markers have often been described in the literature but the present work shows that context, adverbials of time and intonation must also be considered to determine the verbal marker’s semantics. Chapter One outlines the role of Santiago Island in the genesis of CVC and presents the structure and methodology of this thesis. Chapter Two offers a review of the literature on TMA markers in CVC. These previous studies are discussed in chronological order and some new insights are offered. Chapter Three presents an analysis of the meaning of CVC verbs when they are unmarked, showing that stativity is crucially relevant and that many verbs can be stative in one context and non-stative in others. Thus, CVC verbs fall into three groups according to whether their unmarked form indicates present, past or both.
Chapter Four presents the range of the functions of the marker ta with particular focus on its role in indicating habitual aspect. Chapter Five examines the following CVC progressive markers: (i) the markers sta ta and sta na focussing on the importance of the particles ta and na; (ii) the inland markers sata and ata; and (iii) the occurrence of ta in certain contexts with perception verbs indicating progressivity. Chapter Six offers a semantic and syntactic analysis of –ba (a suffixed anterior marker), dja (which can also be an adverb) and the least described verbal marker, al. Chapter Seven presents an exhaustive inventory of combination patterns involving all the markers referred to above, showing that there are strict rules concerning the markers’ position within verb phrase. Finally, Chapter Eight presents the main accomplishments of this thesis and suggests further research needed to help us better understand the CVC verb system, one of the most complex aspects of the language.