This chapter asks about the position of tense, aspect, and mood markers in relation to the verb.
The term aspect is used in a restricted way (imperfective vs. perfective, see the definitions given in Chapter 49), which means that we do not look at other aspectual categories such as completive, resultative, or iterative.
In many languages, TAM markers may occur in different positions. This is why this feature is a multiple choice feature.
We distinguish the following five values:
|Immediately preceding the verb||22||38||60|
|Immediately following the verb||4||17||21|
|In a leftward position||4||31||35|
|In a rightward position||1||5||6|
|No TAM markers||3||0||3|
Value 1 (TAM markers immediately precede the verb), which occurs in almost 80% of the APiCS languages, means that the marker is immediately adjacent to the verb, without any other intervening elements, except for other tense, aspect, and mood markers.
Value 1 is present in all types of languages: European-, Arabic-, Bantu-, and Malay-based pidgins and creoles, as well as bilingual mixed languages.
Value 2 (TAM markers immediately follow the verb) is found in six Ibero-Romance-based languages, in four English-based languages, in two Dutch-based languages, in three Bantu-based languages, as well as in Michif, Media Lengua, Mixed Ma’a/Mbugu, Gurindji Kriol, Yimas-Arafundi Pidgin, and Chinese Pidgin Russian.
Value 3 (TAM markers in a leftward position) covers situations where object pronouns, negators, or lexical items occur between the TAM marker(s) and the verb. This value corresponds partially to values 3 and 4 of Chapters 45 and 46 which deal with the tightness of the link between the past and the progressive marker and the verb. For examples regarding the position of the past marker and the progressive marker, see Chapter 45, examples (14)-(17), and Chapter 46, examples (16)-(19).
Value 3 occurs in six Ibero-Romance-based languages, in twelve English-based languages, in nine French-based languages, in two Dutch-based languages, as well as in Fanakalo, Juba Arabic, Ambon Malay, Pidgin Hawaiian, and the bilingual mixed languages Gurindji Kriol and Michif.
In 25 languages, some adverbs (especially time adverbs) may occur between a TAM marker and the verb:
In Afrikaans, open class items may intervene between the auxiliary verb and the past participle in compound tenses, and Kriol allows for the quantifier ol ‘all’ to occur between the past marker and the verb.
The future markers of Papiamentu, Tok Pisin, and Bislama behave differently from the other languages exhibiting value 3 because these future markers are located outside the clausal core. Their position is due to their adverbial etymology: Portuguese logo ‘right away, soon’ for Papiamentu and English by and by for Tok Pisin and Bislama.
As with value 3, some examples of value 4 (TAM markers in a rightward position) can be found in Chapter 45 (example 18) and in Chapter 46 (example 20).
This value is found in three Ibero-Romance-based languages (Guinea-Bissau Kriyol, Casamancese Creole, Palenquero), in Tok Pisin, in Chinese Pidgin Russian, and in Pidgin Hawaiian. It is only in Pidgin Hawaiian that this value is found exclusively, but this follows from the fact that Pidgin Hawaiian has only one TAM marker (example 17).
In Guinea-Bissau Kriyol, the past marker may be separated from the verb by the causative marker and an object pronoun:
In Palenquero, an object pronoun may intervene between the past progressive marker and the verb:
In Chinese Pidgin Russian, the negator may separate the future marker from the verb:
In Pidgin Hawaiian, a lexical item, hou ‘again’, may intervene between the imperfective marker and the verb:
In Casamancese Creole, an object pronoun or an object noun may intervene between the verb and the past marker baŋ, and in Tok Pisin an object noun may intervene between the verb and the progressive marker istap.
The distribution of the different values of this feature does not show any particular areal pattern.