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Chapter 4. The multifunctionality of Saramaccan táa

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Abstract

This chapter bears on the properties and on the historical derivation of the multifunctional lexical item táa in Saramaccan. Táa fulfills several functions: it may be used as a verb, a complementizer, a quotative marker, and as a marker conveying similarity or manner. Táa is thus a multifunctional lexical item. Its functions parallel in a remarkable way those of the semantically closest substrate languages lexical entries. Furthermore, a review of the early sources reveals that táa was already a multifunctional item in early Sa. This constitutes a major drawback for a grammaticalization account of the relationship between táki and táa. The properties of táa are argued to have been derived through the process of relabeling. Finally, the parameters of relabeling are shown to be compatible only with a monosemic account of multifunctionality.

References

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