Michel Buijs mbuijs at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Mon Apr 7 11:55:28 UTC 1997

John Myhill wrote:

>Did the speaker stress the word `be(e)'? This is how I can imagine this
>being said.
>I personally think that the -s has some sort of emphatic function, but of
>course this is completely vague and an empirical study would be needed to
>confirm this.

If the speaker did actually stress the word 'be' in the sentence
"He's not crazy, he just _bees_ crazy when he's around girls"
this can be accounted for by considering the fact that this is a case of
replacing focus: Concerning topic 'he', not x but y is the case.
The speaker replaces the wrong assumption he thinks his addressee has with
the correct one. In this case, the wrong assumption is a general state of
'being cazy', which is replaced with a temporary/recurring/habitual one, as
is precisely indicated by the temporal modifier 'when he's around girls'.
The sentence structure 'not' ... 'just' confirms the replacing focus
analysis. For the speaker, the proposition 'he is crazy' only holds true if
the subordinated proposition holds true.

The fact that the verbal constituent _bees_ is a focal element would
sufficiently explain its being stressed (I have some doubts as to whether
the -s has 'some sort of emphatic function'). And maybe the fact that the
verbal constituent has focus function itself may have been a reason for
adopting the irregular verb form...(?)




        Drs Michel Buijs

        Classics Department
        Leiden University
        P.O. Box 9515
        2300 RA Leiden
        The Netherlands

        Phone: +31 (0)71 - 527 2774
        Fax: +31 (0)71 - 527 2615
        E-mail: mbuijs at


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