"me neither" (1882)--("Nor me neither" is a blend)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 10 20:26:44 UTC 2005

At 6:16 PM -0600 1/9/05, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>         Ben Zimmer wrote (Jan. 9, 2005):
>         <snip>
>>  (There are earlier cites for "Nor me neither.")
>Ah, another blend: "Nor I" + "Me neither."

I'm not convinced "Nor I" is involved.  "Nor me", without the
postposed "(n)either" emphatic, would be more likely for many
speakers (in particular "nor me neither" speakers) than "Nor I".
Note, for example, that the positive stand-alone form "Me too" is a
*lot* more frequent/likely than "I too", and we'd expect the
negative-environment counterpart of "Me too" to be either "Me either"
or "Me neither", depending on whether one opts for negative polarity
or negative concord.

Even the BBC seems to agree on the "me" vs. "I" angle, although for
some reason it doesn't allow for the "Me either" form:
Note that the converse of Me too is Nor me or Me neither:

*       'I don't fancy climbing to the top of this mountain this
afternoon.' 'Me neither.'

*       'I'm not going to Jane's party on Saturday.' 'Nor me.'

So if "Nor me neither" did originate as a blend, I'd vote for "Nor
me" + "Me (n)either" as the ingredients in the blender.

(FWIW, Google has "nor me either" outpointing "nor me neither" by 945-357.)


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