Complex Creoles? : A corpus-based study of the different functions ofthe progressive particles a, de and gwain inJamaican Creole

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk och litteratur, SOL

Abstract: This study shows how the different ways of expressing the progressive in Jamaican Creole,using the three aspect markers a, de and gwain, differ from each other. It is a corpus study thatshows that these three particles that are used have different other functions and meanings. Itbriefly explains the history and grammar of the creole language along with what previousstudies state about the three aspect markers that are subject for this analysis.The aim of this study is to indicate that creole languages do not necessarily have tobe less complex, just because they are different from their original language. Each aspectmarker and its different functions are analyzed and compared to each other, as well ascontrasted with English, in order to see how and in what ways they differ.The results of the study show that there is a tendency towards a being morefrequently used as the progressive marker nowadays, but de used to be the most frequent one.Gwain has no other function apart from marking the progressive. These particles haveundergone a grammatical change through time. There does not seem to be any clear rules forin which contexts these markers should be used. The study concludes that Jamaican Creoledoes not seem to have a less complex way of expressing things, at least not the progressive,rather the opposite.

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