Tony A. Wright
TWRIGHT at ACCDVM.ACCD.EDU
Mon Apr 7 17:23:43 UTC 1997
Michel Buijs wrote:
> 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.
Alan Dench wrote:
> 'Bees' is a feature of my children's speech (6 ranging in age
> from 6 to 13) and does appear to me to be 'more volitional' - but I
> will keep listening. Eg.
> I don't like X, he always bees silly.
I have heard this in children's speech here in the US, too. I was once
told by a boy (in reference to another student) something like:
"If he bees bad, you should punish him."
This really got me to thinking, and I could certainly agree with him
"If he is bad, you should punish him."
doesn't mean the same thing.
I think this is not a focus issue, but an active/stative verb distinction.
In these cases, "be" is a synonym for "behave". The semantic difference
between this and the stative verb "be" makes it clear to children that
they've got a totally new verb on their hands, and lacking any evidence
that they should do otherwise, they apply regular processes of grammatical
morphology to this new "be".
--Tony Wright <twright at accdvm.accd.edu>
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