A Synchronic and Diachronic Analysis of French Creole Tense, Mood, and Aspect Markers in Trinidad and Tobago, and other Selected Caribbean Territories



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Some French Creoles within the Caribbean, like many other Creoles within the region, are relatively under-researched, and as such, can sometimes be viewed as only being one language with little variation or few differences despite being spoken in several territories. In Trinidad and Tobago, the French Creole spoken is considered to be an endangered variety, although there are currently attempts being made to document and ultimately revive the language by individuals like Nnamdi Hodge and Jo-Anne Ferreira (Belle). Despite there being literature available where the focus is a comparative analysis of French Creoles, Trinidadian French Creole (TFC) is hardly ever included in these comparisons, and the Tense, Mood, and Aspect Markers of TFC have hardly ever been investigated with a brief mention in a relatively recent two volume atlas by le Dû and Brun-Trigaud (Hazaël-Massieux). In 1869, John Jacob Thomas published the first ever book on the grammar of TFC, and, by extension, was the first ever grammar where a French Creole was the focus. This book was written when French Creole was the lingua franca of Trinidad, and thus, it is necessary to investigate whether any changes have taken place from then to the present-day. Data were collected from current TFC speakers, where it was determined that the TMA markers have remained largely the same. When looking at Haitian Creole and St Lucian French Creole, Valdman and Carrington’s works were used as a point of comparison, respectively. In observing the TMA markers that exist in TFC as compared to Haitian Creole (Kreyòl) and St Lucian French Creole (Kwéyòl), it was discovered that the TMA markers of TFC and St Lucian Kwéyòl share greater similarity, which is part of the basis of their classification as Lesser Antillean French Creoles.


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French Creole, Patois, John Jacob Thomas, Trinidad and Tobago, Tense Mood Aspect, TMA Markers, Lesser Antillean