we bees be doing it again

Enrique Figueroa E. efiguero at CAPOMO.USON.MX
Fri Apr 18 18:45:50 UTC 1997

I'm not a native speaker-hearer of English, so no wonder that to my
"prevaricational idiolect" the Granny's *do* sounds awful... I think,
though, there may be some truth in the observation about *being good* being
semantically interpreted as a process+result, in the sense of *behave
well* or, even better, *attain the goal of well-behaving*... Max

On Fri, 18 Apr 1997, Guy Modica wrote:

> Astounding that no one in this thread has mentioned that the copula is a
> somewhat privileged verb in much of its syntactic behavior. "Do" is a
> proform for most verbs.
> You type, don't you.
> You shovel, do you
> You prevaracated, didn't you
> He typed, and when he did . . .
> They shoveled, and when they did . . .
> I prevaracated, and when I did  . . .
> However, the proform of the copula is "be."
> She is a graduate, isn't she
> They were stoned, weren't they
> She will be a graduate, and when she is  . . .
> They are stoned, and when they are . . .
> Ellen Prince (implicitly) pointed this out when replying to Philip Bralic's
> cursory "ordinary verb" comment. "Be" is not just another "main verb." (Not
> one of Bralic's "analogous" examples was stative, another feature of the
> copula.)
> I'll like to hear of some ideolects that have:
> She is a graduate, don't she
> They were stoned, didn't they
> She will be a graduate, and when she does  . . .
> They are stoned, and when they do . . .
> Notice the contrast with a resultative verb like become:
> She becomes a graduate (next week), doesn't she
> They became stoned, didn't they
> She will become a graduate, and when she does  . . .
> They become stoned, and when they do . . .
> So I agree with J. Clancy Clements and others that "are" is the choice for
> we. (Hi Clancy, I haven't seen you since the wonderful seminar on argument
> structure a few years back, when we ate Thai in Indiana!) Perhaps those who
> approve "do" for the Granny sentence see "to be good" as having some kind
> of resultative reading - a state of "goodness" is achieved, and when it do
> . . .
> Well, you get my point. :-)
> Guy Modica
> gmodica at fh.seikei.ac.jp
> "Verbing weirds language."
>         - Calvin (& Hobbes)

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