Locative Adverbials and the ing-form
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This paper offers a localistic view of the ing-form with special reference to the English there-be construction and to the where-question. We expect the readers to be acquainted with previous insightful arguments put forward by Ross, Anderson, Bolinger, Lyons, and so on.
The sentence: there's a woman waiting at the gate can be analyzed in the same manner as there's a woman at the gate. We consider waiting at the gate to be functionally the same as at the gate. The response with the ing-form to the where-question (e.g. Where's my father? - Weeping and wailing over Tybalt's corse.) is as natural as one with a locative adverbial, because on the semantico-syntactic plane there seems to be little difference between the locative and the ing-form.
What seems to justify the statement above is as follows:
(i) There also occurs a there-be construction with another type of the ing-form (i.e. a-doing) immediately after an indefinite NP, like: there is a great fleet a preparing, in which sentence a preparing seems to operate like a prepositional locative NP (in fact, a is originally a vestige of the preposition on). (ii) In the pair: he's here again and looking for trouble/he's here and wet, the latter is ungrammatical, because of the semantic inappropriateness of the conjoinability of temporary here, and permanent wet. (iii) In the set of binary opposition: Joan is singing well/Joan sings well, the former alone indicates Joan's performance (i.e. temporariness', as against 'permanence', of her singing). (iv) The where-question not infrequently leads the addressee to answer not only the literal but also abstract location of the person(s)/thing(s) in question (e.g. Where will you be, if you offend him?/ Where's Joe? - He's in the garden/at confession/asleep/ reading.).
Let us, therefore, place the ing-form between the two extremes: literal/concrete position and figurative/abstract one, on the continuum or the scale of spatial location.