english pronoun case (was Re: everybody...their)

Herb Stahlke hstahlke at GW.BSU.EDU
Fri Apr 20 18:15:48 UTC 2001

I still lean away.  I may be missing something, but in the conjoined structure the pronouns cannot be unstressed, which means they are in focus in this construction.  I don't disagree with his statement, that you quote; I just don't see it as supporting his claim that it's still case-governed behavior.  It looks a lot more like discourse function than like case.


>>> laurence.horn at YALE.EDU 04/20/01 01:04AM >>>
At 12:46 PM -0500 4/20/01, Herb Stahlke wrote:
>I lean more to Mark's statement on case in English.  Certainly, the
>reflexes of ME nominative pronouns are still used consistently as
>subjects if the pronoun is the sole expression of the subject.
>Their strong forms also show up as emphatic sole subjects, but the
>weak forms combine with auxiliary verbs to reduce almost
>unanalyzably.  However, when the subject consists of more than one
>word, the reflexes of the ME dative/accusative forms show up, as in
>"Me and him are leaving soon" or "Us two'll meet you there".
>Combined with the prevalence of objective forms after forms of BE
>that Arnold summarized nicely for us earlier, this begins to look
>much more functional that case-governed.

If I can presume to speak for Arnold (or in any case for myself), the
point is that in "Me and him are leaving  soon", the first person
pronoun is NOT the subject.  The subject is the conjoined noun
phrase, which is why the verb is plural.  In fact, now that I reread
his post, I'm not presuming at all, since he explicitly said

>instead, I/SHE/HE/WE/THEY are used, invariably, by almost all modern
>speakers/writers, when the personal pronouns are the entire subjects
>of their (finite) clauses, and ME/HER/HIM/US/THEM are used, again
invariably, in all but a few other contexts.

So in fact the case you bring up exactly fits the generalization
Arnold provided, which as far as I can see there's no reason to lean
away from.


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