This feature asks how tightly linked the (overt) progressive marker and the verb are, and especially asks which elements (if any) may intervene between the progressive marker and the verb.
A progressive construction refers to ongoing activities, as in English she is working. It does not matter whether this marker has other functions as long as the construction has a progressive interpretation; in this sense, the French present tense elle travaille ‘she is working, she works’ is a progressive construction, although it also fulfils other functions (e.g. present habitual). However, the French construction does not display an overt progressive marker and therefore would not be relevant for this feature.
We distinguish between progressive affixes and progressive particles, i.e. separate words. If the progressive marker is an auxiliary (e.g. Tok Pisin istap), this also counts as a particle. And if there are two or more different progressive markers in the language, only the more grammaticalized one is taken into account.
The following six values are distinguished:
|Particle, nothing can intervene||31|
|Particle, only grammatical markers can intervene||6|
|Particle, a few lexical items may intervene||15|
|Particle, open-class items may intervene||3|
|No overt progressive marker||5|
Value 1 (the progressive marker is an affix) occurs in seven English-based languages (African American English, Bahamian Creole, Hawai’i Creole, Kriol, Nicaraguan Creole, Norf’k, Singlish), in three Ibero-Romance-based Creoles (Korlai, Sri Lanka Portuguese, Zamboanga Chabacano), in Berbice Dutch, in Media Lengua, in Mixed Ma’a/Mbugu, and in the mixed language Gurindji Kriol.
In all English-based languages displaying value 1, the progressive affix goes back to the English gerundial construction with -ing (sing-ing), as in Singlish:
In the Portuguese-based creole Korlai, the progressive affix also goes back to the Portuguese gerundial construction with -ndo (canta-ndo ‘singing’):
Value 2 (the progressive marker is a particle, and nothing can intervene) is the most widespread type. Note that the dividing line between an affix (value 1) and a particle which does not allow for an element intervening between it and the verb is not always clear-cut. This means that, for some of the languages exhibiting value 2, value 1 might be more adequate.
Value 3 (the progressive marker is a particle, but only grammatical markers like other TAM markers may intervene) occurs in Ambon Malay, Cape Verdean Creole of Santiago, Ghanaian Pidgin English, Guinea-Bissau Kriyol, Palenquero, and Yimas-Arafundi Pidgin. In these languages, only other TAM markers are reported to intervene between the progressive marker and the verb.
Value 4 (the progressive marker is a particle, and a few lexical elements may intervene) occurs in four Ibero-Romance-based languages (Angolar, Cape Verdean Creole of Brava, Principense, Papiamentu), in seven French-based languages (Guyanais, Haitian Creole, Mauritian Creole, Reunion Creole, Seychelles Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Martinican Creole), in two English-based languages (Pichi, Vincentian Creole), in Lingala, and in Pidgin Hawaiian. In these languages, only adverbs, especially time adverbs, are reported to occur between the progressive marker and the verb (besides other TAM markers as in value 3).
There is no particular geographical distribution for the different values, except for the fact that value 3 (the progressive marker is a particle, some lexical items may intervene) is absent from South and Southeast Asia.