LINGUIST List 11.1644

Thu Jul 27 2000

Disc: Queen's English/American English

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <karenlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Nitti45, Re: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English
  2. Robert Kurtz, Re: 11.1643, Disc: Queen's English/American English
  3. Mills, Carl (MILLSCR), RE: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English
  4. Michael Swan, Discussion: Queen's English / American English (gone)

Message 1: Re: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 06:14:21 EDT
From: Nitti45 <Nitti45aol.com>
Subject: Re: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English


In a message dated 7/26/00 6:57:10 AM, Mike Maxwell writes:

>To my knowledge, "gone" is the only past participle (as opposed to passive
>participle) in modern English which can take a form of "be" as the Aux
>verb.

 I too have noticed this fact, though I have never researched it whys and 
wherefores. To continue the quotation with specific examples:

>Thus, for me "I am gone" is at least as good, and probably better than,"I
>have gone"...if a destination follows "gone"..., "have gone" is better; "is
>gone" is better when there is no destination. That is:
>
> I am/ ?have gone.
>
> I ?am/ have gone to the store.
>
> Where ??are/ have they gone?
>
>Note also "He has been gone for several hours now."
>
>This would be explicable if "gone" were ambiguous between an adjective
>and a
>past participle, but it fails every other test I can think of for
>adjective-hood. And of course it seems unlikely to be a passive.

>Has anyone looked into this? My edition (1979) of Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech
>and Svartvik, which discusses nearly everything else about English :-),has
>says nothing to say about this....

 I have not seen any published research on this matter, but I can offer 
one 'off the cuff' suggestion as to the possible reason for this. Here it is:
 Up through the time of Early Modern English, verbs might have taken one 
of two verbs as temporal auxiliaries: "to have" or "to be." The choice was 
governed by the consideration of whether or not the main verb was one 
involving motion or some other change of state. In the latter case, the verb 
"to be" was indicated. Thus, "He *has* seen," but "He *is* come," for 
example. (This, incidentally, is still the rule today in German.) At any 
rate, this business of "I *am* gone," and so forth just might be a holdover 
from that era. 
 Again, this is not by any means a definitive statement on this issue; it 
is merely a suggestion.
 Cordially yours,


Richard S. Kaminski
 <Nitti45aol.com> 
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Message 2: Re: 11.1643, Disc: Queen's English/American English

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 11:21:01 -0500 (EST)
From: Robert Kurtz <kurtzomni.cc.purdue.edu>
Subject: Re: 11.1643, Disc: Queen's English/American English

We've seen a number of examples from (American) English in which a
participle verb form follows BE, e.g. "I am gone", etc. Mike Maxwell
points out that BE+gone is generally not used if followed by
a "destination", as in:

	 I have gone to the store.
	? I am gone to the store.

Doug Wilson points out examples of BE+participle containing RISEN and
FINISHED. We could also add DONE to the list. The question arises
whether these participle forms are really verbs or adjectives; Mike's
observation above suggests that they are adjectives. Along the same
lines, we may argue that DONE can be a transitive verb when HAVE is the
AUX, but not with BE:

	Have you done your homework?
	Are you done with your homework?
	After you've done this side, start on that one.
	After you're done on this side, start on that one.
	I haven't done it yet.
	I'm not done with it yet

...as opposed to:

	*Are you done your homework?
	*After you're done this side, start on that one.
	*I'm not done it yet.

But wait! Although the common assumption when using the term "American"
seems to be specifically United States, if we think of the label in 
continental/hemispheric terms, it is relevant to note that I have heard
the three starred sentences above spoken by three different Anglophone
Canadians (all from Ontario, I believe). As far as I could tell, the
meaning was identical to that expressed by HAVE+participle in my dialect;
i.e., "I'm not done it yet" did not imply that the speaker had started,
whereas "I'm not done with it yet" does carry such an implication. I
cannot recall hearing this construction with any participle other than
DONE, but it would be interesting to know if others have studied this and
what implications it has for our discussion.

Robert Kurtz
Graduate Student
Department of Audiology and Speech Science
Purdue University
USA
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Message 3: RE: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 13:56:51 -0400
From: Mills, Carl (MILLSCR) <MILLSCRUCMAIL.UC.EDU>
Subject: RE: 11.1624, Disc: Queen's English/American English




 Mike Maxwell notes sentences like:

 "He has been gone for several hours now." 

Sentences like this frequently reduce to

"He's been gone for several hours now."

And such sentences, when re-stressed, at least in North America, 
are frequently uttered as:

He is been gone for several hours now."

Carl Mills
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Message 4: Discussion: Queen's English / American English (gone)

Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 10:01:29 +0100
From: Michael Swan <MichaelSwangrammar2.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Discussion: Queen's English / American English (gone)


	Mike Maxwell asks about adjectival active past participles like 'gone'.
	
	I think there is actually a whole small group of non-passive past
	participles which can be used more or less adjectivally when the reference
	is to a state rather than an action/event/whatever. Examples (from my
	British usage):
	
	RETIRED
	Compare: My parents are both retired now. 
	Three of the directors have retired this year.
	
	ADVANCED
	Compare: Her English is very advanced. 
	His command of the language has advanced a good deal.
	
	FADED
	Compare: Those flowers are all faded. 
	Over the years, the colours have faded.
	
	SWOLLEN
	Compare: My ankles are swollen. 
	His leg has swollen up to twice its size.
	
	FINISHED
	Compare: 'How's the painting going?' 'I'm finished.' 
	I've finished the painting.
	(Compare also: I'm done.)
	
	GROWN UP
	Compare: She looks very grown up now. 
	The children have grown up and left home.
	
	RECOVERED
	Compare: I hope you are fully recovered. 
	They have all recovered and returned to work.
	
	STOPPED
	Compare: Why are all those cars stopped at the roadside? 
	Why have we stopped?
	
	CAMPED
	Compare: We're camped in a field by the river. 
	We've camped here for the last three nights.
	
	PARKED
	Compare: Where are you parked? 
	I've parked the car behind the house, OK?
	
	Some of these can be used as prenominal adjectives: 'a retired colonel',
	'an advanced student', 'faded glory', 'swollen ankles'. And there are
	others that be used adjectivally before nouns but maybe not (at least in my
	dialect) after a copula: 'fallen leaves', 'developed countries', 'an escaped
	prisoner', 'vanished civilisations', 'a collapsed lung'.
	
	And there are others that can be used prenominally, but only when when
	modified: 'a well-read person' (but not *'a read person'), 'a much-travelled
	man', 'recently-arrived immigrants'.
	
	There's a note on this in my 'Practical English Usage' (second edition OUP
	1995). 
	
	Michael Swan
	
	
	
	
	
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