Research on creole tense–mood–aspect (TMA) systems began in earnest as a response to Bickerton's claim that there was a prototypical system shaped by a language bioprogram. This article presents an overview of such research, as well as a comparison of TMA systems across creoles of different lexical affiliations. A growing body of research in the last 20 years has employed typological and semantic frameworks to demonstrate the diversity and complexity of creole TMA systems. Creoles employ rich inventories of temporal and modal categories whose core meanings interact with the discourse context to produce different interpretations. The syntax of creole TMA also closely follows the universal hierarchy of functional heads proposed by Cinque. The emergence and development of the TMA categories themselves follow general principles of internally and externally motivated change.


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