The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113496   Message #2414631
Posted By: PoppaGator
15-Aug-08 - 11:26 AM
Thread Name: When I was a little bitty baby (Cotton Fields)
Subject: RE: When I was a little bitty baby
Good point about the quasi-word "bitty," leeneia. "Little-bitty" indeed seems to represent a sngle concept and thus to function as a single word. You could say it was a two-word phrase, consisting of an adverb modifying an adjective, but which would be which?

I'd argue over whether "just," which we agree is an adverb here, modifies the verb "was" or the adjectvive "little," but I'd probably lose.

I was about to expand on my point, but since I can't seem to find the words for what I was thinking ~ what was I thinking, anyway? ~ I'll concede. You're right.

I'm old enough, and Catholic enough, to have been drilled in the now-long-forgotten art of diagramming sentences throughout elementary schools. I was good at it then, and still retain most of what I learned. But there are always sentences, like this one, that are hardser to parse than others, and the more colloquial the form of expression, the more ambiguous the grammar and syntax.

I'd also observe that "bitty" is an integral part of this song, but the interjection of "just" is apocryphal, a latter-day corruption of the original. ;^)