[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.


* 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.


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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