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>Tolkien noted this in Old English.  Certainly form like 'I be..." existed
>beside "I am...' in Brit. dialects both as indicative forms ('I be' is
>still occasionally used as a subjunctive in standard English) until the
>early part of this century.  The "I be...." forms are quoted as 'rustic
>peculiarities' - but I wonder if the rustics were not, in fact, using the
>two forms differently.


This reminds me of a recent trip to Exeter. The train announcement went
thusly:

"The train now on platform four BE going to penzance."

Perhaps the announcer was making use of a little known subjunctive to state
that he didn't really think the train would actually arrive?

[note for non Brits: our so-called train service is notoriously unreliable,
and dividing it up into several cartels seems to have made it worse]

---
Fabian
honjitsu watashi wa genki desu ashita kami ga kimeru