Edited by Anna Giacalone Ramat, Caterina Mauri and Piera Molinelli
[Studies in Language Companion Series 133] 2013
► pp. 105–124
This paper presents a case study of be meant to in a usage-based (Langacker 2008), construction grammar (Goldberg 1995) perspective. In contrast to other say/believe type verbs, the evidential ‘reputed’ sense of be meant to in (1) is not a passive of an active sense of mean. (1) He’s meant to be the sexiest man in America. (ICE-GB: sla 065 059) The development can be accounted for by a process of analogy to Noël’s (2001) “hearsay” NCI (nominativus cum infinitivo) construction. However, the developmental path for be meant to appears to breach the Semantic Map Connectivity Hypothesis (Croft 2001). The paper discusses the development of be meant to in this use and how the form has a multiple synonymy with be supposed to, including a new use reporting predictions.
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