Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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The use of the adverb in Colloquial Singapore English has long been known as one of the most readily recognizable features defining the contact dialect, marking aspectual nuances such as anterior, completive, inchoative and inceptive functions, as noted by Bao (20052015). Recent observations note that the uses of as an inchoative marker (distinguishing the adverb as an iamitive) are more frequently found than completive uses across a small, synchronic sample of speakers (Teo 2019). It is perhaps less often recognized, though, that the aspectual use of co-exists with the variable marking for past tense in Singlish (Ho & Platt 1993), and that both the aspectual adverb and the past tense may be seen to co-occur in the same construction. The frequency of in its various functions is examined across two corpora, and the relative frequency of completive vs. non-completive functions is quantified diachronically. It is hypothesized that, rather than grammaticalizing onwards to become a past tense marker, as is predictable for some Portuguese creole iamitives ( ‘already’) (Clements 2006), is becoming increasingly restricted in its functional range in today’s Singlish, and that its perfect and completive functions may be at a stage of selective renovation by the use of the past tense in Standard Singapore English.


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Keyword(s): already; contact grammaticalization; iamitives; past tense; renovation/renewal; Singlish
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