"belong to be"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 23 02:05:50 UTC 2011

The 1991 film, _Ballad of the Sad Cafe_, based on Carson McCullers' novel,
is set in 1932 in some especially weird part of rural Georgia, or perhaps in
a parallel-rural Georgia on Planet X.  Naturally, they talk funny there.

Part of the reason that one of them does is that Vanessa Redgrave can't  get
her rural-Georgia accent quite right. But never mind that. At one point she
tells no-good Keith Carradine, "You *belong* to be in the penitentiary!"

He just got out. So the nuance here is "deserve to be."

OED comes close with def. 4c: "With inf.: to be accustomed, ought; to seem,
intend. _U.S. dial._"  "Ought" isn't quite strong enough here, IMHO.

Part of why I'm posting this is because at first, "belong to be" sounded
utterly bizarre (Like my first positive "anymore." Ah, youth!)  But within
seconds, it seemed so familiar that I thought I'd always known it. A minute
later, it seemed strange again.These were very odd reactions.

Does Vanessa's screen usage seem *perfectly normal* to anybody here?

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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