[Corpora-List] adverbial 'behind'

E. Bashir ebashir at yahoo.com
Sat May 29 19:52:30 CEST 2010

But this prepositional usage could also be a dialectal usage of some group/region, in which the preposition 'behind' has the suggested meaning "controlling or responsible for (an event or plan)". In this case, it would mean 'I am sorry they lost their daddy because of what happened.'

E. Bashir

--- On Sat, 5/29/10, Ken Litkowski <ken at clres.com> wrote:

From: Ken Litkowski <ken at clres.com> Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] adverbial 'behind' To: "Jim Fidelholtz" <fidelholtz at gmail.com> Cc: Corpora at uib.no Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010, 12:38 PM

I'd agree with Jim. At the preposition project web page, the applicable definition would, IMHO, be "controlling or responsible for (an event or plan)". Since it is common to have a phrase like "I left my daughter behind", the quote is somewhat poor English and tends to evoke this adverbial sense. It's something of a garden path sentence. Since "behind" doesn't go well with "lost", you have to do a double take and then choose the preposition interpretation.


Jim Fidelholtz wrote: Hi, Marc,

My initial reaction to your question was 'what adverb?', ie, that it is a preposition. With a bit more reflection, I'm a bit more convinced that it's more of a preposition than an adverb. Cf. 

          They lost their daddy behind the barn. (or even: after the event, where I would interpret 'after' here as a preposition). Actually, such examples seem to me to point out the fuzziness of grammatical categories (*especially* where adverbs are concerned, and cf. also 'discourse markers', which in their historical development seem to progress syntactically in many cases towards adverb-like behavior).


On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 8:48 AM, Marc FRYD <marc.fryd at univ-poitiers.fr> wrote:

Hi everyone,

In the second episode of "The Wire," one of the characters says the following:

"[I am] sorry they lost their daddy behind what happened". This is in reference to some kids losing their father after he was shot.

Is anyone familiar with this particular usage of 'behind'?





Dr. Marc FRYD

Faculté des Lettres et des Langues

Université de Poitiers

95 avenue du Recteur Pineau

86022, Poitiers, France

Tel. [33](0)5 49 45 48 11

Mob. [33](0)6 76 28 18 50


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Corpora at uib.no



James L. Fidelholtz

Posgrado en Ciencias del Lenguaje

Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades

Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, MÉXICO

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