'bees' in child lg.

Sydney M Lamb lamb at OWLNET.RICE.EDU
Thu Apr 10 14:42:16 UTC 1997

Suzanne -- Just a small point about your generally very cogent remarks of
the other day.  I noticed an interesting hidden assumption in your statement

> I don't find it at all surprising, given that kids are
> trying to map meanings to gramm. and lexical forms, that
> a child might create a formal distinction between
> temporary vs. permanent state, or more agentive vs.
> less agentive predicate, or whatever the actual distinction turns
> out to be, . . .

--- the assumption that the "actual distinction" exists somewhere (out
there?) apart from what is in the minds of individual speakers.  But if it
doesn't, then whatever each kid decides to make of the possibilities,
given what he/she has been hearing, provides what that kid does; and
different kids doubtless make the distinction betw two kinds of "be" on
slightly different semantic/functional bases.  (I too have heard kids
doing it, incl my own -- and there is no need at all for an influence from
AAVE or anthing else to give them the opportunity, motivation, and mental
wherewithal to go ahead and do it.)

You seem to be accepting this  point yourself when you write

> the surrounding speech of the family isn't problematic,
> since kids do come up with their own distinctions

   --- Syd

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