Sri Lanka Malay has innovated a prominent and productive copula, which sets it apart from other descendents of colloquial Malay varieties. This copula has developed from the verb dhaathang ‘to come’, which is a grammaticalization path not yet attested in the literature. This article describes the forms and functions of this copula and shows that it cannot be traced to any of the main input languages of Sri Lanka Malay (Trade Malay, Tamil, Sinhala). Comparing the Sri Lanka Malay case to attested grammaticalization paths, this article concludes that the grammaticalization of COME to a copula is less surprising when assuming intermediate stages of ‘resultative’ and ‘stative’. These subpaths are illustrated by a variety of Creole and non-Creole languages.
© Mouton de Gruyter – Societas Linguistica Europaea