LINGUIST List 11.1880

Thu Sep 7 2000

Qs: "Be" Omission/Newscasts, Correction Re:Scarab

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  1. Carson T Schutze, 'be' omission in (American?) English newscaster-speak
  2. Natalie Schilling-Estes, correction re: scarab (issue 11.1867)

Message 1: 'be' omission in (American?) English newscaster-speak

Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 14:42:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Carson T Schutze <cschutzeMIT.EDU>
Subject: 'be' omission in (American?) English newscaster-speak

Does anyone know of systematic work on the apparently increasing phenomenon
whereby in television newscasts, finite 'be' gets omitted from matrix clauses?
I hear this on CNN a lot--a news item can begin with a "sentence" like

"President Clinton speaking today at a gathering of milkshake protestors."

Both syntactically and prosodically this seems to be an independent
declarative sentence and not an NP. I think this can happen with copular as
well as auxiliary 'be', e.g.,

"President Clinton expected to speak...". 

It is obviously reminiscent of newspaper "Headlinese" discussed by Stowell,
but not purely the same, e.g., you don't get determiner drop or changes in
tense interpretations, as far as I can recall.
I will post a summary if warranted.

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carson T. Schutze Department of Linguistics, UCLA
Email: Box 951543, Los Angeles CA 90095-1543 U.S.A.
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Message 2: correction re: scarab (issue 11.1867)

Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2000 18:14:58 -0400
From: Natalie Schilling-Estes <>
Subject: correction re: scarab (issue 11.1867)

I recently posted a message (11.1867) asking for help in identifying
some characters that may or may not be "writing" that appear on the
bottom of a large scarab-shaped piece of jewelry. I inadvertently
gave the wrong URL for viewing these characters. The correct address

Sorry for the mistake,
Natalie Schilling-Estes
Linguistics Dept.
Georgetown University
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