Datapoint Palenquero/Uses of the progressive marker

Much about the TAM system of Palenquero is poorly understood (see Schwegler & Green (2007: 275 section 1.1.) for some of the pertinent issues). The common progressive marker ta is not generally used with stative verbs (thus *i ta kelé bae 'I want to go' is always rendered as i kelé bae).

Particularly troublesome in terms of analysis is the presence of the preverbal element a- (which may or may not have morphemic status, as its function or role is unclear). Schwegler & Green (2007: 275) make this point about it in the section on Statives without past reference (slightly edited here to bring it in line with bibliographic and other practices of this Atlas):

Statives with non-past reference are expressed in two ways: (a) with the bare verb stem ( __ + V), or (b) with a + the bare verb stem (a + V).
Patiño (1983: 123) believes that the preverbal particle a in a + V is devoid of any semantic function, and that constructions (a) and (b) are, therefore, in free alternation (cf. [1] to [2] below, where polé and a polé appear to have identical meanings). To date, no plausible alternative explanation has been offered, but the suspicion persists that this a does hold a hitherto unidentified function (see now Moñino 1999).

(1) i ___ polé yebá kuenta nu.
1SG can figure account NEG
‘I cannot calculate (this).’

(2) suto a- polé ta arí- ndo no.
1PL ? can PROG laugh PROG NEG
‘We can’t be laughing.’

It has been argued (e.g.Patiño (1983: 122), Dieck (2002)) that predicate negation structures, relative clauses, and a few other environments strongly favour the omission of preverbal a. My own corpus attests to a similar behavior of a in these environments. The correlation between morphosyntactic environment and presence or absence of certain preverbal markers has only heightened our suspicion that a indeed carries a yet unidentified functional role.

Values

Only progressive function

Example 48-34:
I ta miná hende aí memo.
I
I
ta
prog
miná
see
hende
people
there
memo.
right
I see someone right there.
Spanish: (Yo) miro a la gente allí mismo.
Example 48-82:
Ané ta ablá-ndo ku yo.
Ané
ellos
ta
prog
ablá-ndo
talk-prog
ku
with
yo.
I
They are talking with me. OR: They are speaking to me.
Spanish: (Ellos) están hablando conmigo.
Example 48-81:
I ta kandá-ndo ele.
I
I
ta
prog
kandá-ndo
sing-prog
ele.
he/she
I am singing (lamenting) her.
Spanish: (Yo) estoy cantándolo/cantándola (estoy lamentando la muerte de él/ella).
Example 48-90:
I polé ku eso nu.
I
I
polé
can
ku
with
eso
this
nu.
neg
I cannot (go along) with this. = This is not for me. OR: This is not my kind of thing.
Spanish: (Yo) no puedo con eso.
Example 48-1:
Ana kelé komblá un koka kola.
Ana
Ana
kelé
want.inf
komblá
buy.inf
un
indf
koka
Coca
kola.
Cola
Ana wants to buy a Coca Cola.
Spanish: Ana quiere comprar una coca cola.
Example 48-38:
Ma hende i ta miná kelé lendrá.
Ma
pl
hende
people
i
I
ta
prog
miná
see
kelé
want
lendrá.
enter
The people I am looking at want to enter (the house).
Spanish: La gente que estoy mirando quiere entrar.
Example 48-91:
I polé yebá kuenta nu.
I
I
polé
can
yebá
figure
kuenta
account
nu.
neg
I cannot calculate (this).
Spanish: No puedo llevar la cuenta.

Source: Schwegler & Green 2007: 276

Confidence:
Intermediate