Language Matters : Beside / Besides


1.   Explain the form and meaning/use of the words beside and besides in the following examples, which all come from the Collins Cobuild Concordancer (no longer available on the web).

a) .... It is now in the Science Centre, beside the world famous 76m Lovell Radio Telescope.
b) .... barbiturates present additional risks. Beside the usual risks of injecting (abscesses and so on) ..
c) .... (it's quite nice, actually, but that's beside the point).
d) .... I was beside myself with rage when I heard this.
e) .... Staley's heroin odyssey and a whole lot more besides.
f) .... political or social injustice. Besides, Africa was rich in ...
g) .... Besides producing a large quantity of concert music, ....


2.  Comment on the potential features of connected speech in (e) above


Now compare your own analysis with the suggested answer below.


Suggested Answers


1. Form, Meaning and Use


a) Form - preposition.   Meaning - next to   Use - used as head of a prepositional phrase to indicate location

b) Form - preposition.    Meaning - as well as    Use - used as head of a prepositional phrase to indicate the relationship of addition

c) Form – preposition.    Meaning - irrelevant to    Use -  used as head of a prepositional phrase forming a idiomatic expression / fixed lexical chunk .

d) Form – preposition.     Use/Meaning – when used as head of prepositional phrase together with a reflexive pronoun (as here) has the meaning of "with no self control"

e) Form - adverb.    Meaning/use - in addition    Use - equivalent to prepositional phrase "besides Staley's heroin odyssey"

f) Form - adverb.   Meaning- Furthermore     Use - indicates a relationship of addition between the two propositions.

g) Form – preposition.     Meaning : as well as    Use - indicates a relationship of addition between the two propositions


2. Features of Connected Speech


Citation form : /stænlɪz herəʊɪn ɔ:desi: ænd ə hɔ:l lɒt mɔ: bɪsaɪdz/


a) Liaison: use of intrusive consonants between adjacent vowels:

i) heroin:  /herəʊwɪn/         ii) odyssey and: /ɔ:desi:jænd/


b) Use of weak form for the unstressed grammatical word and. Could potentially become any of the following: i) /ənd/ - with vowel weakening of /æ/ to schwa;   ii) /ən/ vowel weakening plus elision of /d/; or iii) [n̩] with elision both of the initial vowel and final consonant, leaving only a syllabic consonant.


c) Catenation between syllable final consonants and syllable initial vowels : i) heroin odyssey: /herəʊɪnɒdesi:/   ii) and a: /ən/ /ə/ or [ə]


d) Gemination of the two adjacent /l/ phonemes in whole lot:: /hɔ:lɒt/


e) Regressive assimilation of place in lot more: the alveolar /t/ becomes a bilabial /p/ in front of the bilabial /m/: /lɒp mɔ:/

Potentially resulting in: /stænlɪz herəʊɪnɒdesi:jənə hɔ:lɒp mɔ: bɪsaɪdz/