[Ads-l] "be-" [Was: Urban legend? Or fact?]

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 6 15:32:21 EDT 2016


> On Oct 6, 2016, at 2:27 PM, Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> 
> be-loved
> be-spoke
> be-holden
> 
> All intensifiers, I think.  And many others, most of which I would not utter, seen in the OED's definition of "be-, prefix,"esp. second paragraph.   Excerpt:
> 
> "In such as be-daub, be-spatter, be-stir, be-strew, the notion of ‘all about, all round, over,’ or ‘throughout,’ naturally intensifies the sense of the verb; whence, be- comes to be more or less a simple intensive, as in be-muddle, be-crowd, be-grudge, be-break,"
> 
> Joel

be-break? don't hardly hear that one much these days. "besmirch" is alive and well, and more robust than "smirch" itself, at a more than 2:1 ratio of raw ghits, FWIW.   be- is also a (no longer productive) verb-forming prefix with denominal uses (betoken, befog, bejewel, behead, bewitch) and deadjectival uses (befoul, becalm, belittle).  Sort of like eN-.  With "beloved", though, I don't have the sense that there's an actual verb "belove" lurking.  

LH
> 
>      From: Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
> Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2016 1:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Urban legend? Or fact?
> 
> On Thu, Oct 6, 2016 at 11:42 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> 
> ...
> 
> 
> What is the difference between
> 
> "X is widely _beloved_ by all"
> 
> - regardless of the number of syllables in _beloved_ -
> 
> and
> 
> "X is widely _loved_ by all"?
> 
> I've long wondered what the answer may be. Does prefixing _be-_ affect the
> meaning of _loved_, in some way, in this environment, or is it merely a
> pseudo-rhetorical flourish whose function is to fancy up an-otherwise-banal
> _loved_ by giving it a for-the-hell-it extra syllable?
> 
> 
> -- 
> -Wilson
> 
> 
> 
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