Changes in the functions of already in Singapore English
A grammaticalization approach
The use of the adverb already in Colloquial Singapore English has long been known as one of the most readily recognizable features defining the contact dialect, marking aspectual nuances such as anterior, completive, inchoative and inceptive functions, as noted by Bao (2005, 2015). Recent observations note that the uses of already as an inchoative marker (distinguishing the adverb as an iamitive) are more frequently found than completive uses across a small, synchronic sample of speakers (Teo 2019). It is perhaps less often recognized, though, that the aspectual use of already co-exists with the variable marking for past tense in Singlish (Ho & Platt 1993), and that both the aspectual adverb and the past tense may be seen to co-occur in the same construction. The frequency of already in its various functions is examined across two corpora, and the relative frequency of completive vs. non-completive functions is quantified diachronically. It is hypothesized that, rather than grammaticalizing onwards to become a past tense marker, as is predictable for some Portuguese creole iamitives (ya ‘already’) (Clements 2006), already is becoming increasingly restricted in its functional range in today’s Singlish, and that its perfect and completive functions may be at a stage of selective renovation by the use of the past tense in Standard Singapore English.
Keywords: Singlish, already , iamitives, past tense, contact grammaticalization, renovation/renewal
Published online: 01 October 2020
[ p. 327 ]References
Alsagoff, Lubna & Chee Lick Ho
1998 The grammar of Singapore English. In Joseph A. Foley, Thiru Kandiah, Zhi-Ming Bao, Anthea Fraser Gupta, Lubna Algasoff, Chee Lick Ho, Lionel Wee, Ismail S. Talib & Wendy Bokhorst-Heng, English in new cultural contexts. Reflections from Singapore, 127–151. Singapore: Oxford University Press [Singapore Institute of Management].
Baxter, Alan, & Hugo C. Cardosa
Bybee, Joan, & Östen Dahl
Bybee, Joan, Revere D. Perkins & William Pagliuca
Clements, J. Clancy[ p. 328 ]
Clements, J. Clancy & Andrew Koontz-Garboden
2006 Relativism and universalism from the perspective of areal typology and grammaticalization theory. Plenary talk presented at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea , University of Bremen, 30 August-2 September.
Dahl, Östen & Viveka Velupillai
2013 The Perfect. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath, (eds.), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Accessed online at http://wals.info/chapter/68 (17 Sept. 2019).
Dahl, Östen & Bernhard Wälchli
2019 Gram types as clusters in grammatical space. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea , 21–24 August, University of Leipzig.
Deuber, Dagmar, Jakob Leimgruber, & Andrea Sand
Gupta, Anthea F.
Gupta, Anthea Fraser
1998 The situation of English in Singapore. In Joe Foley, T. Kandiah, Zhiming Bao, Anthea Gupta, Lubna Alsagoff, Chee Lick Ho, Lionel Wee, IS. Talib, & Wendy Bokhorst-Heng, English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, 106–126. Singapore: Singapore Institute of Management/Oxford University Press.
Haspelmath, Martin, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil & Bernard Comrie[ p. 329 ]
Haspelmath, Martin, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil, & Bernard Comrie
(eds.) 2008 The world atlas of language structures online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. München: Max Planck Digital Library. http://wals.info/
2012 Isomorphism and formulas of equivalence in language contact. In Guangshun, Cao, Hilary Chappell, Redouane Djamouri & Thekla Wiebusch (eds.), Breaking down the Barriers: Interdisciplinary Studies in Chinese Linguistics and Beyond” (Festschrift for Prof. Alain Peyraube). Taiwan: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica. (Pre-print version.)
Heine, Bernd, & Tania Kuteva
Heine, Bernd & Tania Kuteva
Ho, Mian Lian & John T. Platt
Hopper, Paul J.
Hopper, Paul J. & Elizabeth Closs Traugott
The International Corpus of English
Kuteva, Tania, Bernd Heine, Bo Hong, Haiping Long, Heiko Narrog & Seongha Rhee
Kuteva, Tania, Seongha Rhee, Debra Ziegeler, & Jessica Sabban
Leimgruber, Jacob R. E.
2018 Ethnic and gender variation in the use of Colloquial Singapore English discourse particles. Paper presented at the 5th Conference of the International Society for the Linguistics of English, University College London, July 17–20.
Li, Charles N., & Sandra A. Thompson
Lijun, Li & Peter Siemund[ p. 330 ]
Matthews, Stephen & Virginia Yip
& the APiCS Consortium 2013 Tense-aspect systems (https://apics-online.info/parameters/49.chapter.html). In Susanne Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath, & Magnus Huber (eds.) 2013 The atlas of pidgin and creole language structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://apics-online. (16 Sept. 2019).
Michaelis, Susanne, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath, & Magnus Huber
(eds.) 2013 The atlas of pidgin and creole language structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (https://apics-online.)
Mufwene, Salikoko S.
= Oxford English Dictionary Online, 3rd edition (updated September 2012) http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.univ-paris.fr (15 July 2019)
Platt, John T.
Reinöhl, Uta, & Nikolaus P. Himmelmann
Szeto, Pui Yiu, Stephen Matthews, & Virginia Yip
Teo, Ming Chew[ p. 331 ]
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
Winford, Donald, & Bettina Migge