Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've recently seen a movie character regularly use this construction (for example, "the dog is wanting to be taken out for a walk"), and I am trying to figure out which dialect or cultural background the construction is meant to signal.

share|improve this question
    
What movie did you see it in? –  ShreevatsaR Dec 11 '10 at 5:58
    
I'm going through the TV Guide listings trying to figure it out, doesn't seem to be easy. –  blueberryfields Dec 11 '10 at 6:23
    
I've heard this before, and it seems to be a "passivication" of the active voice in wants. –  Chris Dwyer Dec 11 '10 at 15:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I can't conclusively say if this is a reflection of the dialect, but my mother-in-law uses this construction and she is from Arkansas.

share|improve this answer

I think this is fairly common in speakers from north-east England and Scotland. As a child, we subscribed to the Beano comic, which was printed in Dundee, and characters would often use this sort of phrase, which sounded odd to my London-based family.

share|improve this answer

I heave heard Indians (from India) speak like this. It's quite common in that dialect.

share|improve this answer
4  
The progressive tense is common, but the specific construction "is wanting" is not. You may hear "the dog is asking to be taken out for a walk" (or "waiting to be…", etc.), but "wanting to be" wouldn't be common. –  ShreevatsaR Dec 11 '10 at 18:55
    
Ah, you are right. That is what I heard. –  IanC Dec 11 '10 at 19:53

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.