An aspect marker which expresses progressive aspect, i.e. which refers to ongoing activities at the time of speech or at some other temporal reference point, often fulfils other functions as well. A progressive marker may also express habitual situations, current states, and future situations. This feature asks about these three other potential functions that an overt progressive marker may have.
If a language has both a present progressive and a past progressive marker, the past progressive marker is disregarded.
With “current state”, we refer to permanent states like ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘have’, or ‘know’, which are true at the time of speech or at some other temporal reference point.
The progressive marker of languages that allow this marker to modify current states does not necessarily mark all verbs which refer to current states. For instance, Papiamentu uses the marker ta obligatorily with some stative verbs (e.g. with kere ‘believe’), but the modal verbs sa ‘know’, por ‘can’, or mester ‘must’ (as well as other verbs) are zero-marked for present reference. The point at issue is whether the progressive marker can mark some verbs referring to permanent states (values 4, 6, 8), or whether it cannot mark any verb referring to permanent states (values 2, 3, 5, 7).
Note that we only look at overt markers. If the progressive is expressed by the bare verb without any overt marker (as for example in German), we treat the language as lacking a progressive marker (value 1).
This chapter is closely related to Chapter 48, which deals with the uses of the habitual marker.
We distinguish the following eight values:
|No overt progressive marker||5||0||5|
|Only progressive function||32||1||33|
|Progressive and habitual||8||0||8|
|Progressive and current state||1||0||1|
|Progressive and future||3||0||3|
|Progressive, habitual, and current state||12||0||12|
|Progressive, habitual, and future||6||0||6|
|Progressive, habitual, current state, and future||8||1||9|
Value 1 (no overt progressive marker) is found exclusively in pidgin languages: Chinese Pidgin English, Chinese Pidgin Russian, Chinuk Wawa, Eskimo Pidgin, Pidgin Hindustani, and Fanakalo. Note, however, that Singapore Bazaar Malay, Pidgin Hawaiian, and Yimas-Arafundi Pidgin have an overt progressive marker.
Value 2 (only progressive function) is the most widespread feature, occurring in about 40% of the APiCS languages. It is present in nine Ibero-Romance-based languages, in eight English-based languages, in five French-based languages, in three Malay-based languages, as well as in Afrikaans, in Kikongo-Kituba, in the bilingual mixed language Gurindji Kriol, in Hawai‘i Creole, in Pidgin Hawaiian, in Yimas-Arafundi Pidgin, and in Michif.
Value 3 (progressive and habitual) occurs in four English-based languages (Belizean Creole, Cameroon Pidgin English, Nigerian Pidgin, Singlish), in Fa d’Ambô, Lingala, Juba Arabic, and in Mixed Ma’a/Mbugu.
Value 4 (progressive and current state) occurs only in Cape Verdean Creole of Santiago.
Value 6 (progressive, habitual, and current state) occurs in six Ibero-Romance-based languages (Batavia Creole, Cape Verdean Creole of São Vicente, Diu Indo-Portuguese, Cavite Chabacano, Ternate Chabacano, Zamboanga Chabacano), in four English-based languages (Early Sranan, Sranan, Ghanaian Pidgin English, Bislama), in Berbice Dutch, and in Media Lengua.
Value 8 (progressive, current state, habitual, and future) occurs in Papiamentu, in Bahamian Creole, in Gullah, in Nengee, in Saramaccan, in Pichi, in Guadeloupean Creole, in Martinican Creole, and in Kinubi.
Except for value 7, which occurs only in the Caribbean and in Africa, the different values of this feature do not show a particular areal distribution.
From a diachronic perspective, we can observe that the English-based languages which possess the marker de show the different stages in the grammaticalization path that a progressive marker may take. According to Bybee et al. (1994: 148), a progressive marker turns into a general imperfective marker by adopting the functions of habitual and current state. In the case of the English-based APiCS languages, Krio illustrates the initial stage where de only has the progressive function (example 2); in Belizean Creole, de marks progressive and habitual events (example 3), and in Early Sranan (as well as in Modern Sranan) de fulfils all three functions (progressive, habitual, current state; example 5), having thus reached the status of a general imperfective marker. Note that this development in Sranan is not recent; the Early Sranan examples date from 1781.
Papiamentu, which among the APiCS languages is the only language displaying two progressive markers – a gerund construction (example 1) and the marker ta –, illustrates what may happen when an etymologically progressive marker (Papiamentu ta < Portuguese / Spanish estar + infinitive or gerund) reaches the stage of a general imperfective marker (or even a present tense marker; see Maurer 2003): a new progressive construction that puts particular emphasis on the progressive meaning is developed or borrowed.