[Ads-l] =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=9CWhat_am_I_wanting_to_illustrate=3F=E2=80=9D_?=(Barry Neil Kaufman in "To Love Is to Be Happy With")

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 31 17:06:36 UTC 2019

Very nice analysis, Stanton.

Mark Mandel

On Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 11:25 AM Stanton McCandlish <smccandlish at gmail.com>

> That* [to be]+[other verb] *construction is standard grammar in
> some languages for various purposes, so I would suspect it's a loan
> construction (possibly a multigenerational one, turned regional or
> subcultural diom) when it appears habitually in someone's English. I hear
> it pretty frequently from various South Asian ESL learners. Maybe it also
> shows up in some European languages.

> I'm reminded of how various Hiberno-English oddities ("She's me wife
> she is", "I'm after putting it on the table already", "Look at your man
> over there", etc.) can be traced directly  to Irish Gaelic constructions.
> Similarly, English is picking up "allows to [something]", with no
> actor referent, from German and maybe some other Germanic languages, and
> *also* from some South and Southeast Asian languages, simultaneously (the
> main vector is technical documentation, for both groups).

> Anyway, I think that in a psychological context, "they're wanting to"
> is actually a bit nuanced, descriptive of an externally perceived and
> changeable state rather than assertive in a *faux*-omnicient way of
> an internal personal truth or condition.  A common everyday-vernacular
> example would be along the lines of "She was being disruptive", which is a
> very different statement from "She is disruptive."
> Kaufman's examples may stand out ("may be standing out"?) as strange
> just for not being common collocations nor having any clarification or
> narrowing purpose, in most cases, that would be clear except to the author
> and maybe to some specialized audience.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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