Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka, 2018.
“A syntactic universal in a contact language: The story of Singlish already.”
Presented at LSA 92.
I investigate the syntax/semantics of sentence-final already in Singlish (also: Colloquial Singapore English). Bao (1995, 2005) proposes that already is a relexification inheriting the syntax/semantics of Chinese sentence-final le/liao. The semantic scope of Singlish already shows that it unambiguously attaches high to its host clause (above TP), whereas Chinese le/liao attaches between VP and TP. This discrepancy in height is explained by an interaction between the Final-over-Final Constraint (Biberauer, Holmberts, and Roberts 2014 a.o.), enforced over Spell-Out domains, and verbal inflection suspending Spell-Out at vP in Singlish but not Chinese.