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The reputed sense of be meant to

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Abstract

This paper presents a case study of be <i>meant to</i> in a usage-based (Langacker 2008), construction grammar (Goldberg 1995) perspective. In contrast to other say/believe type verbs, the evidential &#8216;reputed&#8217; sense of be<i> meant to</i> in (1) is not a passive of an active sense of mean. (1) He&#8217;<i>s meant to </i>be the sexiest man in America. (ICE-GB: sla 065 059) The development can be accounted for by a process of analogy to No&#235;l&#8217;s (2001) &#8220;hearsay&#8221; NCI (<i>nominativus cum infinitivo</i>) construction. However, the developmental path for be <i>meant to</i> appears to breach the Semantic Map Connectivity Hypothesis (Croft 2001). The paper discusses the development of be <i>meant to</i> in this use and how the form has a multiple synonymy with be<i> supposed to</i>, including a new use reporting predictions.

References

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