me and John

John Myhill john at RESEARCH.HAIFA.AC.IL
Fri Apr 18 15:58:08 UTC 1997

'Me and him went...' is just another step in the slow but steady conversion
of English nominative pronouns into unstressed preverbal clitics, which
can't be conjoined (as has already happened in French). Observe the
following (judgments mine):
It's me!  (??It's I)
Who wants to go?   Me!  (*I)
Me, I don't think so.

Of course, I think that there is no categorical rule disallowing stressed
nominative pronouns for any adults that I know of, but things are
going in that direction. And I knew an 8-year-old native English speaker in
Michigan who would consistently ask for things by saying, e.g. `I want a
of water' but would fight for something by saying `ME want it, ME want it.'

> In a small town several hours north of Toronto the school teachers are
> accepting sentences such as:
> Me and John are going to the store.
> Him and me are going to the store.
> The teachers claim that the nominative rule in the case of coordination
> constructions is old fashioned and obsolete.
> This makes me cringe when taught as standard English in the schools, yet
> the English grammars I have in my office are strangely silent on the topic
> of coordination in subjects with personal pronouns.
> As far as I can find, for example Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartvik say
> nothing, nor does Wardhaugh's "Understanding English Grammar."
> Does anyone have a textbook published in the last few years that comments
> on this?
> Peter A. Reich
> University of Toronto

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