LINGUIST List 3.635

Tue 18 Aug 1992

Disc: Linguistic Drift

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  1. Dan I. Slobin, Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift
  2. David Powers, Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift
  3. Cathy Ball, Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

Message 1: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 92 00:11:10 -0Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift
From: Dan I. Slobin <slobincogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

After having raised the issue of linguistic drift in Bill Clinton's
speech, and claiming that pre-WWII speakers like me would never use
"X and I" in object position, I was amazed to find that I had, indeed,
used the form myself in a letter written at age 14 (in 1953)--and in
an unexpected construction: "They came to the hotel and picked
Mark and I up." I find it hard to believe that I actually used this
form as a teenager--which suggests that more is involved than a
generational change. Age-grading seems to play a role too. (I
obviously have no recollection of when or how I made the change.)

-Dan Slobin (slobincogsci)
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Message 2: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 92 12:50:34 MERe: 3.633 Linguistic Drift
From: David Powers <powersdfki.uni-kl.de>
Subject: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift


Dennis Baron <baronux1.cso.uiuc.edu> writes:

> Dan Slobin raises the issue of objective _I_ occurring as the second
> element of a pair. Usually it's a prepositional object: between you
> and I being the classic case.

In Australian English the classic case is "on behalf of my wife and I"
where the complications that it is not clear what the correct form
is: "on behalf of my wife and me" seems to have a problem due to
reflexivity, whilst "on behalf of my wife and myself" seems stilted
because of the parallelism leading to the acoustic parse "... my self".
I have never heard, and couldn't use, "between you and I".

Some usages do, however, seem to be the result of hypercorrectio{:
particularly in relation to the attempt to outlaw accusative
objects in copular constructions and elided subjects: "It's only me"
and "Who's going? Tom and me." Perhaps the correct correction
does become formulaic! And some of the correction is not so much
of grammar as manners - always mention yourself last. In this case
we are thrown out of kilter and can't apply our implicit case rules
in the position in the sentence (e.g. directly after the
preposition) where we would normally do so.

> Someone (I can't remember who(m)) noted that _between you and I_
> is used quite unselfconsciously by people who never "misuse" pronoun
> case in other sorts of constructions. IE, they would never be caught
> dead saying "He gave it to I" or "Listen to I." This rings true to me
> and also makes the hypercorrection explanation suspect. I tend to favor
> the "X and I" fossilization theory: the phrase becomes an idiom and
> therefore does not obey normal grammatical constraints.

The phenomenon uniquely concerns conjunctions, and even more
specifically "and": the same people who say "give it to Tom and I"
will say "give it to Tom or me". Perhaps what is happening is that
"and" is starting to require nominative case!!

David Powers
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Message 3: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1992 13:33 EDTRe: 3.633 Linguistic Drift
From: Cathy Ball <CBALLguvax.georgetown.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.633 Linguistic Drift

Re: Clinton's 'Al Gore and I', Dennis Baron observes that objective 'I'
has been around for a long time. An earlier example from spoken English
(transcript of the trial of Sir Thomas Gascoigne):

11 Feb 1679 State Trials XCV.17: Sir T. Gascoigne. Look you, Sir, what
do you know concerning the Difference between Mr. Bolron and I?

 -- Cathy Ball (Georgetown University)
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