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 <>

Date: 13-Dec-2012
From: Marsha Forbes-Barnett <>
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 inCaribbean 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 forthe observation of a default Tense interpretation of the unmarked verbin CEC among other phenomena. However, the case of propertyitems such as sik ‘sick’ weeri ‘tired’ redi ‘ready’ etc which appear inboth Stative and Non-stative use has raised a conceptual question forthe application of this distinction and whether it may unambiguously beapplied to verbs.

In this work, which assumes a compositional approach to Aspect, Ifocus on the contribution of the verb. In addressing the challengeposed by dual aspectual forms in CECs, I provide theoretical groundingfor the Stative/Non-stative distinction. From the perspective of primitiveEvent structures and Pustejovsky’s (1988), (1991) observation of averb’s association with an Event Structure of State, Transition orProcess, I propose for CEC property items a classification based on acombination of syntactic and semantic criteria. The analysis I proposeeffectively allows for a classification of property items which includesthree main groups: Those items which are inherently Non-stative(Transition), those that are inherently Stative (State) and do not appearin Non-stative use and those that are inherently Stative but allow formorphological derivation to express the Event Structure of eitherTransition or Process. This captures the diversity in aspectual andcategorial status that has been indicated for these items but allows fortheir association with a unique aspectual and categorial status.

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