There are two commonly used habitual markers in Palenquero: asé (past: asé-ba) and sabé (past: sabé-ba or a-sabé-ba). There are derived from Spanish hacer and saber, respectively, both of which held habitual functions in earlier dialectal Spanish (the case of saber is documented, the one of hacer is not, but can be deduced by evidence from the Chota Valley of Highland Ecuador).
Preverbal [asé] or sabé, the latter being a far less frequent though not uncommon marker, are used to express habitual aspect. Habitual aspect is, however, often simply implied, i.e. not expressed overtly by [asé] or sabé.
Graphic representation of the habitual marker [asé] is the subject of some dispute, which is why we have represented it here in phonetic transcription. Some authors view it as a bi-partite, bi-morphemic element (a-sé or a se rather than asé; cp. Patiño (1983: 118, ex. 33)), but those who favour that analysis have never made clear what the function/meaning of the initial a- would be.
Cases of habitual [se] (rather than [asé] are readily attested, but this variation may at times simply be due to a (substrate-driven?) PL allophonic variation that allows the deletion of unstressed word-initial a- (cf. PL loyo < Spanish arroyo ‘creek’; losu < alosu < Spanish arroz ‘rice’; PL malá < Spanish amarrar ‘to tie, attach’).