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Patterns of variation in copula and tense in the Hawaiian post-Creole continuum

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Item Summary

Title:Patterns of variation in copula and tense in the Hawaiian post-Creole continuum
Authors:Day, Richard R.
Keywords:English language -- Hawaii
English language -- Dialects -- Hawaii
English language -- Tense
Date Issued:1972
Abstract:The goal of this dissertation is to make a contribution to the description of the usages of the copula and past tense in the Hawaiian Post-Creole Continuum. In order to accomplish this, data were gathered using sociolinguistic methods from a number of persons living in the Hawaiian Islands. These individuals were from all age groups, and from many different ethnic and socio-economic groups with varying degrees of educational backgrounds. The data were tape-recorded in interviews, story-telling sessions, and peer-interaction groups. In an effort to keep self-monitoring at a minimum and obtain a speaker's most relaxed, systematic style of speaking, no one was told the exact purpose of the recordings. The data were analyzed to discover the usages of copula and past tense. The examination supported an interpretation that the English language in Hawaii was best described as a post-creole continuum composed of overlapping systems and that the lects in the continuum were in the process of decreolization. In addition, the analysis showed that an interpretation of the data by positing a series of coexistent systems could not be completely substantiated; nor, however, could the coexistent- systems hypothesis be completely refuted. The traditional notion of code-switching as a complete break from one system to another was shown not to be viable and that a new concept of code-switching is needed in which only one feature can be involved in a switch. A detailed examination of twenty-three speakers showed that the occurrences of the present tense Standard English (SE) copula can be arranged on a Guttman implicational scale in four syntactic environments: in the environment before a noun phrase to the environment before a predicate adjective to before a locative to before a progressive. The implication is that if an individual lacks a form of the present tense SE copula in any given environment, then he will also not have any forms in all environments to the right. It was further demonstrated that, with the exception of the implicational patterning, the speakers could not be grouped according to age, sex, ethnic group, educational level, or geographic space. It was claimed that this was due to the continuum's undergoing decreolization. This process evidently has cut across the various social and economic patterns in the speech community. Examples from the data were used to support the theoretical claim that the progressive has as its underlying source a locative. The final theoretical concern dealt with the treatment of the past tense in the grammar. A process of tense neutralization, whereby the past tense, in conjunction with another past tense or a past time adverbial, is neutralized to the unmarked, or present, tense, corresponds to the claim that the past tense is an intransitive verb. Further, it was shown that tense neutralization and the representation of adverbials and tense in the same grammatical category can support a claim of what the historical present was in early Indo-European.
Bibliography: leaves 159-165.
vi, 165 l tables
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Linguistics

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