currently sat

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currently sat

Post by trolley » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:58 am

I read the following post today, on line:
“I'm currently sat drinking tea and eating biccies”
I’ve never heard this construction before. Is it legit? She would have been previously sat or currently sitting (or seated). Can she be currently sat? Somehow, it almost sounds OK…but maybe that’s because I can imagine it being said with a British accent…and that makes it sound proper.
:wink:
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Re: currently sat

Post by tony h » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:09 pm

I appreciate that your question is directed to a better grammarian than me.

The use of sat conveys a permanence to the activity (or lack of activity) that sitting does not. My father-in-law would be sat in front of the telly watching the football, whereas the Reverend Fotheringay was sitting in a way which would allow him to up and take his leave at the flimsiest of opportunities.
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Re: currently sat

Post by BonnieL » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:25 pm

I've been seeing that too & it just doesn't look right to me."I am sat..." No, no, no. My Webster's 3rd has only one definition of "sat" - it's the past tense of "sit." So - "I am" is present, & the words that go with it are "seated" or "sitting."
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Re: currently sat

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:29 pm

It is simply a colloquial construction. Very bad English of course, but sadly not uncommon.
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Re: currently sat

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:52 pm

As Bob says, it's a very common colloquial usage in English (albeit not in American English — as far as I'm aware, it's largely restricted to the British Isles).

It's not 'bad English', however.

It's merely English in a different register of formality and intimacy than the academic style of English which schoolchildren of our generation were taught to revere (or at least to conform to, along with being force-fed the self-adoration and self-justificatory propaganda of the British ruling classes which the British education system remains addled by to this day).

The verb stand also exists in a similar colloquial conjugation, e.g. "He was stood there watching from behind the pillar of the bar while his mate had a go at the barman".

You could substitute stood/standing for sat/sitting in Tony's succinct explanation above: "The use of stood conveys a permanence to the activity (or lack of activity) that standing does not.
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Re: currently sat

Post by trolley » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:25 am

Thanks all. I think I'm getting it. There seems to be more of a "sense of purpose". Being stood or sat feels a bit like being posed or placed. You're making a statement...you are doing more than just sitting or standing.
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Re: currently sat

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:33 am

It's perhaps more the sense of a lack of intention to do anything else, or deliberate passivity, rather than a sense of purpose or making a statement.

What's being conveyed, it seems to me, is the attitude of an onlooker, or of a person who doesn't want to be involved in something that's happening in front of them, or who doesn't want to get dragged into it or be obviously associated with it.
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Re: currently sat

Post by BonnieL » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:47 pm

trolley wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:25 am
Being stood or sat feels a bit like being posed or placed.
To me, that would seem to be an action by someone else: "The usher sat me." Weird, but understandable.
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Re: currently sat

Post by Phil White » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 am

Nice spot, trolley.

My intuition tells me a few things:
  • Yes, it is very much a UK thing
  • I suspect also that it is from the broad London region (Estuary English), which may root it in East Anglian or Essex dialects.
    Either way, it flows much more naturally with an Estuary accent.
  • Apart from "I was sat/stood", which have already been given, I can only think of one other body position that allows this construction: "I was knelt (at the altar)."
I think we can always push interpretations of unconventional usages a little too far, and I would not say that this construction necessarily has a clearly delineated, distinct meaning, but I do tend to concur with Tony's original point and what has been said afterwards in respect of a certain sense of "permanence". It is a sort of expectation of or resignation to being there for the long haul. But as I say, it would be easy to over-egg that.

Being broadly an Estuary/RP speaker myself, I would half expect this to be part of my dialect, but I simply cannot tell you whether I would actually use it. I suspect I might do so quite happily in loose, informal narrative, particularly if I were to choose to revert to the more explicit London roots of my accent: "I was sat in the Rose and Crown, when who comes in but 'Arry..." Which is the point I am making. The construction fits that narrative register perfectly.
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Re: currently sat

Post by tony h » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:57 am

Phil White wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 am
I suspect also that it is from the broad London region (Estuary English), which may root it in East Anglian or Essex dialects.
I know the old Thames was said to be two miles wide but it would still be hard to believe Estuary English extended to the Ridings; not the wapentakes of the north nor the hundreds of the east.**

One is very often "sat" in Yorkshire.
This passage is written to imitate a Yorkshire pronunciation.

"Ah wor sat i' t'barber's shop tuther day, waitin mi turn fer young Sweeny ter gi'e mi a short back an sides. 'is fatther, Owd Sweeny, at ed t'shop afooar 'im, wor sat i' t'corner suckin 'is pipe. The cudn't call it smoakin cos 'e nivver seemed ter leet up. Ah reckon 'e'd a bin as weall off wi a babby's dummy asteead o' t'pipe."

http://www.yorkshire-dialect.org/author ... es_t_z.htm

** this sentence was merely an excuse to use wapentake!
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Re: currently sat

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:08 pm

Phil White wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 am
Apart from "I was sat/stood", which have already been given, I can only think of one other body position that allows this construction: "I was knelt (at the altar)."
Consider also stooped (over), bent (over), squatted (over / on), crouched (over / on):

"I saw him in the playground yesterday afternoon. He was stooped over the flowerbed, poking at it with a walking stick, for a good five minutes".
(Instead of was stooping over.)

"I was bent over my course books in the library the other day when who should come in the room but Samantha!"
(Instead of was bending over.)

"The last time I saw him, he was squatted over the latrine doing something unmentionable".
(Instead of was squatting over.)

"There we all were, squatted on the grass having a lovely picnic, when Lizzie-Lou let out this most enormous fart".
(Instead of squatting on.)

"Can't you see Tinker over there under the redcurrant bush? He's been crouched there for ten minutes, waiting for that robin to come back".
(Instead of been crouching.)
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Re: currently sat

Post by tony h » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:33 pm

Well done Erik.

They all, to me, have that sense of the activity being completed and the status will not change until some new significant event happens.

He was sat - you could come back in half an hour or half a day and he would still be sat.
He was bent over his books - well you know he is engrossed and will be there until the early hours.

Whereas "he was sitting" or "he was bending over" you have spotted him in the act, he might have only been there a moment and may fly as soon as he notices you.
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Re: currently sat

Post by Phil White » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:00 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:08 pm
Phil White wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:00 am
Apart from "I was sat/stood", which have already been given, I can only think of one other body position that allows this construction: "I was knelt (at the altar)."
Consider also stooped (over), bent (over), squatted (over / on), crouched (over / on):

"I saw him in the playground yesterday afternoon. He was stooped over the flowerbed, poking at it with a walking stick, for a good five minutes".
(Instead of was stooping over.)

"I was bent over my course books in the library the other day when who should come in the room but Samantha!"
(Instead of was bending over.)

"The last time I saw him, he was squatted over the latrine doing something unmentionable".
(Instead of was squatting over.)

"There we all were, squatted on the grass having a lovely picnic, when Lizzie-Lou let out this most enormous fart".
(Instead of squatting on.)

"Can't you see Tinker over there under the redcurrant bush? He's been crouched there for ten minutes, waiting for that robin to come back".
(Instead of been crouching.)
They don't seem to be the same thing to me. These just appear to be a regular past participle used adjectivally in exactly the same way as "I was tired/exhausted/doubled up in pain", or simply "his body was twisted (with pain)".

The original "stood" and "sat" examples seem to be of an entirely different quality, although I cannot put my finger on it at the moment.
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Re: currently sat

Post by trolley » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:53 am

I am currently laid in bed, wondering if I could be layed in bed. You know I'm not lying.
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Re: currently sat

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:47 am

Phil White wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:00 pm
They don't seem to be the same thing to me. These just appear to be a regular past participle used adjectivally in exactly the same way as "I was tired/exhausted/doubled up in pain", or simply "his body was twisted (with pain)".

The original "stood" and "sat" examples seem to be of an entirely different quality, although I cannot put my finger on it at the moment.
I think you need to make a better case than that for differentiating between stood/sat/knelt and the additional instances I put forward.

For example, how is the construction 'was knelt' different in essence from 'was squatted'?
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