While some authors have treated preverbal ta as an imperfective or progressive marker, it is in fact not associated with any particular aspectual interpretation. Instead, the Aktionsart of the predicate and the presence of other material such as adverbial modifiers combine to determine the aspectual interpretation (see for instance the lengthy discussion in Muller 1989: 228–253). The presence of ta does not add to this interpretation. It should be noted also that ta is fully compatible with the majority of stative verbs, and that it fails to induce a change from a stative to a progressive or inchoative reading, as might be expected if it were a progressive marker. This is illustrated here. Moreover, it is compatible with aspectual interpretations (progressive, habitual) as well as non-aspectual interpretations (future, generic).
Based on all this, Kouwenberg & Lefebvre (2007) argue that ta is a dummy tense marker. Maurer (1988) has suggested that it marks "same tense", on the basis of its acceptability in past contexts. More recently, he has argued that ta (with a very restricted allomorph zero) is on its way to grammaticalize into a Indo-European-like present tense.
The debate on the status of ta is by no means closed, and shows once again how much of Papiamentu grammar is still not well understood.
Progressive meaning can be unambiguously expressed by suffixation of the Spanish-derived suffix -ndu, combined with preverbal ta or tabata. This construction is not commonly used. It is considerably more frequent in formal than in informal registers.
Source: Extra: 20 June 2009, p.7