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How perfect is perfective marking? An analysis of terminological problems in the description of some tense‐aspect categories in Creoles

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This paper considers how the variation in the meanings ascribed to the labels perfective, imperfective and perfect has clouded the study of verbal specification via tense‐aspect, both generally and in creole studies specifically. It seeks to resolve the problem by consideration of the meanings of these labels for a range of language typologists and descriptivists, including some of those who have described Caribbean English‐lexicon Creoles. It also considers other dimensions of tense‐aspect signification which must be considered integral to our interpretation of those categories. The paper answers a range of questions which should ultimately assist us in clarifying our approach to creole verb description and perhaps even lead to the use of a consensual range of labels.
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Keywords: Caribbean creoles; categories; completive; discourse functions; imperfective; oppositions; past; perfect; perfective; tense‐aspect; usage

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad

Publication date: 01 February 2003

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