[Corpora-List] adverbial 'behind'

Nathan Schneider nathan at cmu.edu
Sat May 29 20:29:38 CEST 2010


Fascinating! For what it's worth, UrbanDictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=behind) has:

* (preposition) Because of, due to, as a result of — especially when describing the negative consequences of a misstep. This usage marks a sharp linguistic divergence along ethnic lines: integral to ebonics and related dialects, unrecognized in any white vernacular. The judge give Nyquilla 30 days behind that foolishness with her babydaddy.

and

* preposition. after; following. Typically suggestive of a cause-and-effect relationship, but it is important to note that this is implied and not stated. You gonna catch hell behind that bullshit from yesterday.

Nathan

On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM, Angus Grieve-Smith <grvsmth at panix.com> wrote:
> On 5/29/2010 12:57 PM, 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).
>
>    Clearly, the prepositional phrase with "behind" is functioning as an
> adverb in the sentence, much like "behind the barn."  But I don't think
> that's what Marc's really interested in.
>
>    Most of the times I've heard it, "behind" has its original sense denoting
> a place relationship, or extended to Ken's sense of responsibility ("so
> that's who's behind all those robberies").  In this case, however, it seems
> to have a general sense of "related to," similar to the way I would use
> "over."
>
>    I'm guessing it's an innovation in the Baltimore dialect of Black
> English.  From a corpus perspective, it turns out that the script to this
> episode of "The Wire" and many others are available online and searchable.
>  You can find a bunch of other examples.  It's hard to find with a keyword
> search unless you're looking at something that's specific to that dialect,
> because there are so many other uses of "behind."
>
> From the same episode:
> "I'm gonna need a tetanus to get behind this bullshit."
> "Everything else in this country gets sold... without people shooting each
> other behind it."
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/268875
>
> From other episodes,
> "You just took a real detective off a real case behind your bullshit."
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/138236#line531
>
> "You're going to jail behind this shit. - Yes, you are."
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/237503#line31
>
> "It's my recollection that a city police got shot behind Mr. Barksdale's
> business."
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/205769#line431
>
> "You still fucked up behind that stickup, man?"
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/172760#line51
> "I nearly got killed behind this caper, you know?"
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/172760#line251
> "And I will put a bullet in all you all behind, what happen right now, you
> heard?"
> http://movie.subtitlr.com/subtitle/show/172760#line351
>
>    Outside of scripts for "The Wire," I was able to find one instance on an
> Oprah message board:
>
> "was I better of useing herion than drinking at that time behind what happen
> with the other family"
> http://www.oprah.com/community/message/976102
>
> --
>                                -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
>                                grvsmth at panix.com
>
>
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