"being have"

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Sep 7 18:31:17 UTC 2001

Why must this be derived from "be have" and not "behave" with initial
(unstressed) syllable deletion (as in tater, coon, possum, mater, and
lots of other such words)?

I have certainly heard the "I am being have" children's story enough
to believe it (and believe it is a process which language acquirers
duplicate often), but it does not seem relevant here.


>This debate is going beyond what I had anticipated.
>In the context of the song, "She just won't have" undoubtedly
>means "she just won't act in a decorous manner because she is too
>spirited, too full of the spirit of jazz".
>If we do not derive the statement "She just won't have" from the
>expression "be have" (= "act nice"), then from what idiom do we derive
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African
>Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Lynne Murphy <lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK>
>Date: Friday, September 7, 2001 9:07 am
>Subject: Re: "being have"
>>  --On Thursday, September 6, 2001 7:31 pm -0400 George Thompson
>>  <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
>>  > Lynne Murphy objects that in the passage
>>  >     "She came in on the Charleston wave, / What I told you, she just
>>  > won't have"
>>  > "there's no 'be' there--so I don't think this is a case of 'to
>>  be have'
>>  > at all.  "
>>  >
>>  > But "will" (won't) is the future tense of "be".  So that in this
>>  > instance the idea of "being have" is so assimilated that the
>>  verb has
>>  > been adapted.
>>  I don't see this at all.  I parse 'being haive' as be + adj or
>>  adv, and one
>>  can't saw "I won't happy" or "I won't there"--you've gotta have
>>  the 'be'.
>>  >
>>  > I'll concede that this analysis/joke on of "behave" is sufficiently
>>  > obvious that it may have been invented ndependently many times.  I
>>  > think I don't concede that "she just won't have" should be read
>>  as "she
>>  > just won't 'have" ("behave" truncated of its first syllable).
>>  Yeah, Arnold's probably right on this point.
>>  Lynne
>>  M Lynne Murphy
>>  Lecturer in Linguistics
>>  School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
>>  University of Sussex
>>  Brighton BN1 9QH
>>  UK
>>  phone +44-(0)1273-678844
>>  fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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