Andy Pawley apawley at COOMBS.ANU.EDU.AU
Mon Apr 7 23:37:43 UTC 1997

A propos of Tony Wright's remarks on acquiring English verb morphology:

>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".>

--  As toddlers in Tasmania, according to my elders, my cousin Max and I
were told: 'Now you two behave!" and I protested indignantly "We ARE being
have [heyv]!". On the analogy of 'be good', 'be careful' etc., I had
concluded there is a predicate adjective 'heyv' meaning something like
'behaving well'.

Andy Pawley

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