Juni 14, 2014

Tense and Auxiliaries in Jambi Malay

Yanti, “Tense and Auxiliaries in Jambi Malay”, NUSA: Linguistic Studies of Languages in and Around Indonesia, 55 [Aspect, Mood and Evidentiality in Languages of Indonesia], (2013): 239-257.


THIS PAPER describes some syntactic and semantic properties of tense, aspectual, and modal auxiliaries in the variety of Malay spoken in Jambi City (Jambi Province, Indonesia). In addition to describing TAM auxiliaries, this paper demonstrates the ways in which auxiliaries behave differently from main verbs in the language. Moreover, this paper argues that the modal auxiliary biso ‘can’ occupy two distinct syntactic positions. I support this claim with evidence based on the properties of biso when it occurs in constructions with aspectual markers, modals, and certain kinds of syntactic fronting.

1. Introduction (p. 239)

Jambi Malay is a Malay variety spoken in Jambi Province, southeastern Sumatra. The focus of this paper is on the variety spoken in the city of Jambi (see also Yanti, 2010). This paper has two main purposes. The first is to describe tense, aspectual markers, and modal auxiliaries in Jambi Malay (henceforth, JM). The second purpose is to provide a syntactic analysis to explain observed ambiguities in the interpretation of the modal auxiliary biso ‘can’.

This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents a very brief description of how tense is expressed in the language. Section 3 describes the properties of aspectual auxiliaries, modal auxiliaries, and constructions with multiple auxiliaries. This section also illustrates how auxiliaries differ from main verbs. Section 4 accounts for an ambiguity in the interpretation of the modal auxiliary biso ‘can’ and proposes a syntactic analysis that accounts for this ambiguity.

5. Conclusion (p. 256)

This paper has presented a description of tense, aspectual, and modal auxiliaries in Jambi Malay. Aspectual auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries in JM pattern like the auxiliaries in European SVO languages in that they must appear to the left of the main verb. It has been shown that these auxiliaries are better treated as heads. In addition, this paper has provided an analysis of biso ‘can’. The fact that the modal auxiliary biso can have either a root (abilitative or permissive) interpretation or an epistemic (possibility) interpretation can be accounted for by proposing two distinct syntactic positions for biso. This claim is supported by the relationship between the word order and interpretation of sentences that contain aspectual markers and biso, sentences that involve fronting, sentences in which biso co-occurs with another modal, and sentences in which biso occurs twice.[]


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