Article published in:Variation in the Caribbean: From creole continua to individual agency
Edited by Lars Hinrichs and Joseph T. Farquharson
[Creole Language Library 37] 2011
► pp. 13–38
Revisiting variation between sa and o in Sranan
Sranan employs two markers, sa and o, which both express some kind of futurity, but the precise nature of the difference between them has been difficult to pin down. Some researchers claim that sa and o are both primarily temporal in nature, but others treat sa as primarily modal, and o as primarily temporal, though they disagree on how far its meaning overlaps with that of o. This paper employs data from historical texts as well as examples and judgments elicited from five native speakers of Sranan in order to determine the precise nature of the differences in meaning and use between the two markers. I build on the insights of researchers like Voorhoeve and Seuren to demonstrate that sa really conveys a range of modal meanings that include futurity, strong expectation, and probability. This can be ascribed to the influence of Dutch zullen. On the other hand, o is primarily temporal in nature, expressing future tense. The analysis suggests that sa and o are not really in competition in contemporary Sranan.
Published online: 26 January 2011