Complexity in gradience

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In this paper I will demonstrate how a series of micro changes are related within the synchronic gradience of the item <i>take</i> in Western metropolitan varieties of Nigerian Pidgin (NigP). I will show that <i>take</i> functions as a main verb, as an instrumental serial verb and as an incipient modal verb. While the presence of serial verb constructions (SVCs) can be attributed to a calque from the Kwa/Benue-Congo substrates, I will make an argument for an internal and gradual path of grammaticalisation from serial to modal <i>take</i>, due to the re-bracketing of the collocation <i>take</i>&#43;V2 as a non-serial VP. I will support my claims with an analysis of <i>take</i>&#8217;s occurrences in a corpus of NigP collected in Lagos in 2007.


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