LINGUIST List 3.648

Mon 24 Aug 1992

Disc: Drift

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Price Caldwell, Re: 3.647 Drift
  2. JEROEN WIEDENHOF, Drift: 'case & coordination'
  3. John Cowan, Drift: the way it works
  4. (ohn Cowan, drift: government and case

Message 1: Re: 3.647 Drift

Date: Sat, 22 Aug 92 23:31:34 CDRe: 3.647 Drift
From: Price Caldwell <tpc1Ra.MsState.Edu>
Subject: Re: 3.647 Drift

On page 25 of this week's TIME magazine (Aug. 24, 1992) the second
sentence reads:

	As the polls regularly probe the magnitude of his problem, the
 	President demonstrated again that the problem is he.

Does the last word sound wrong? I would have preferred "himself."
Why? My suspicion is that it is a matter of markedness. That is,
"he" is unmarked; but we need a marked term for this position. Such
an explanation might also help with "me and you can do it," and
others such.

I don't know of anyone who has argued for a markedness theory in
performance, but I am very much interested in it. If any of you do
know of such arguments, please let me know of them.

--Price Caldwell
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Message 2: Drift: 'case & coordination'

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1992 22:01 METDrift: 'case & coordination'
Subject: Drift: 'case & coordination'

Dick Hudson (19 Aug 92, Linguist List Vol-3-641 'Drift') asks:

 'Does anyone know of any (other) language in which case-selection inter-
 acts with coordination? I'm told that in, for example, German, which
 really does have case, there's no temptation for anyone, anywhere, to use
 a different case according to whether or not coordination is involved.'

In the Dutch newspaper _NRC_Handelsblad_ (21 Aug 92, p. 7), J.L. Heldring's
monthly catalog of errors quoted from written sources includes the following
sentence (original quote, my glosses & translation):

 ? Ik heb niet alleen de Kroaten in de Balkan voor ogen, maar
 I have-1-SG not alone the Croat-PL in the Balkans for eye-PL but

 ook zij die elders wonen.
 also they who elsewhere live-PL

 'I have in my mind not just the Croats who live in the Balkans, but also
 those living elsewhere.'

Heldring here criticizes the use of _zij_ 'they', apparently because he
prefers _hen_ 'them' or _hun_ 'them' (the question '_hen_ or _hun_?', both
of which are oblique in standard Dutch, is a vexed problem in itself).
Even though the relative clause may have played a role in the original
writer's decision to use _zij_, coordination (or simply more distance) may
have been an additional factor. At least, Heldring's example sounds less
exceptional to me than:

 ?? Ik heb zij die elders wonen voor ogen.
 I have-1-SG they who elsewhere live-PL for eye-PL
 'I have those living elsewhere in mind.'

Jeroen Wiedenhof
Leiden University
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Message 3: Drift: the way it works

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 92 12:24:48 EDDrift: the way it works
From: John Cowan <cowanuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: Drift: the way it works

I may have posted on this earlier, but the Mencken model seems to work
better than anything I have seen before for explaining the distribution
of I/me, he/him, she/her, etc. in casual speech:

ses I-form;

2. a pronoun adjacent to the verb and acting as object uses me-form;

3. a pronoun separated from the verb and acting as subject uses me-form;

4. a pronoun separated from the verb and acting as object uses I-form;

5. two pronouns conjoined have the same form, which is me-form as subject
 and I-form as object.

This model predicts the following unstarred forms and forbids the following
starred forms, all of which agrees with my native-speaker intuitions:

	I saw him.
	*Him saw I.
	Him and John saw me.
	*He and John saw me.
	John and I saw him.
	*John and me saw him.
	Me and him saw John.
	*I and he saw John.
	*Me and he saw John.
	*I and him saw John.
	John saw he and I.
	*John saw him and I.
	*John saw him and me.
	*John saw he and me.

Of course, after years of pickling in Standard English forms, my intuitions
probably aren't all they should be. In particular, I find the starred
examples which use "I" for "me" less objectionable than the ones which use
"he" for "him".

On another note, my native dialect tended to order pronouns Latin-style:
"first person first, second person second, third person third" (the historical
origin of the ordinal names). Standard English demands first-person last.
What about other dialects?

John Cowan		...!uunet!cbmvax!snark!cowan
			e'osai ko sarji la lojban.
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Message 4: drift: government and case

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 92 12:37:07 CSdrift: government and case
From: (ohn Cowan <>
Subject: drift: government and case

Dick Hudson's suggestion that English may no longer have case should be
best considered in light of the history of case in English: Old English
verbs frequently took both nominal and pronominal objects not only in
the accusative but in the dative and the genitive as well. It's been
longer than I care to admit since I looked at these structures, but it
is clear that variation has always been fairly normal.

Also, I have never looked at the _myself_ phenomenon (Give it to John
and myself/ Sarah and myself presented a paper at the conference), but
I've always suspected it is somehow part of the larger between you and
I picture.

Dennis Baron
Dept. of English office: 217-244-0568
University of Illinois messages: 217-333-2392
608 S. Wright St fax: 217-333-4321
Urbana IL 61801
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