Fwd: Re: Fwd: Re: everybody...their

Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Wed Apr 18 16:30:27 UTC 2001

I have to share two "Emperor's New Clothes" type anecdotes bearing on this
topic, even if they don't really advance our knowledge.

One was an experience of my own in kindergarten.  There was a game where
one child hid where he or she couldn't see--but could hear--the rest of the
class.  The class then sang a little verse, something about a mouse, I
think, that ended in the line, "Someone's knocking, me oh my!" This was the
cue for one of the class, chosen by the group after the other child had
hidden, to rhyme, "It is I!"  The child hiding was then to guess by the
sound of the voice who it was that had delivered the punchline. There was
one kid you could always identify, because he always sang out, "It's me!"

The other anecdote was one Martin Joos liked to tell from his linguistic
atlas field work in New England.  One of his informants was a woman from an
old Boston Brahman family.  When asked how long she had lived in the area,
she replied, "We came in 1752."  The pertinent part of the interview went
something like this:

Q.  If you knock on somebody's door and they want to know who's there, what
do you say to identify yourself?
A.  "It's me!"
Q.  If your child came home from school and said his English teacher had
corrected him and told him he should say, "It's I," what would you say?
A.  I'd tell HER to mind her own business!

--On Wednesday, April 18, 2001 8:20 AM -0400 "Dennis R. Preston"
<preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU> wrote:

> Sonja,
> Tell your student not to call me up; they will surely puke (although
> I may alternate between "This is me" and "This is him"; I can't say
> for sure).
> best,
> dInIs
>> I thought Dennis (and possibly others) might like to see this
>> response from one of my graduate students to Dennis' earlier e-mail.
>> --Sonja
>>> X-Authentication-Warning: archa14.cc.uga.edu: martyr owned process
>>> doing -bs Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 15:06:38 -0400 (EDT)
>>> From: Martin Rogers <martyr at arches.uga.edu>
>>> X-Sender: martyr at archa14.cc.uga.edu
>>> To: "Sonja L. Lanehart" <lanehart at arches.uga.edu>
>>> Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: everybody...their
>>> Status:
>>> I once experienced tunnel vision, headaches and nausea upon hearing a
>>> friend answer the telephone and say "this is him," but i can't say i
>>> actually puked.  i saw a guy choke when he heard someone say "ain't,"
>>> but that was in Macon, and everybody says ain't there, and the guy
>>> could have choking on his dip.
>>> On Tue, 17 Apr 2001, Sonja L. Lanehart wrote:
>>>  > > Date:         Tue, 17 Apr 2001 14:50:32 -0400
>>>  > > Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>  > > Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>  > > From: "Dennis R. Preston" <preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU>
>>>  > > Subject:      Re: everybody...their
>>>  > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
>>>  > > Status:
>>>  > >
>>>  > > This is an interesting case of 'informal' grammar mapping into the
>>>  > > call for gender equality in language. Luckily I had the
>>>  > > construction 'naturally' so I was pre-ready.
>>>  > > I sure do like it when people people report that they 'cringe' at
>>>  > > the ordinary speech of others. Keep sending in them visceral cards
>>>  > > and letters. Could somebody attest to actually puking, for example,
>>>  > > on hearing a piece of grammar they didn't take a liking to? I'd
>>>  > > love to hear about it (or fainting, wetting their [uh, I mean his
>>>  > > or her] pants, etc...).
>>>  > >
>>>  > > dInIs
>> ***************************************************
>> Sonja L. Lanehart
>> Department of English      706-542-2260 (office)
>> University of Georgia      706-542-1261 (messages)
>> 300 Park Hall              706-542-2181 (fax)
>> Athens, GA 30605-6205      lanehart at arches.uga.edu
>> ***************************************************
> --
> Dennis R. Preston
> Department of Linguistics and Languages
> Michigan State University
> East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
> preston at pilot.msu.edu
> Office: (517)353-0740
> Fax: (517)432-2736

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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