I was sat in front of my laptop: The BE + sat/stood construction in English
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The occurrence and frequency of the use of the non-standard BE + sat/stood construction, termed pseudo-passive by some in the literature, in British, American and Irish English is researched. Additionally, a few explanations for the use of this construction are considered and reviewed. Analysis of multiple corpora is used to study the use of the construction in both spoken and written language. The selected corpora cover several time periods of the twentieth century, adding a diachronic dimension to the study in this way. Analysis showed that the construction is almost exclusively used in spoken language, which suggests that it is still a colloquial feature. It was, moreover, found that its use is predominantly Northern and additionally occurs in the South-West of Great Britain, which is a confirmation of earlier claims concerning its distribution made in the literature. Two possible accounts for the use of the BE + sat/stood construction are considered and, after a discussion of their defects, rejected. It is argued that the semantics of the two stance verbs that the construction involves play a part in its use, and that the past participles sit and stand should be reanalyzed as adjectival.