nomconjobjs: between you and me/I

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 22 18:57:08 UTC 2010

At 9:09 AM -0800 2/22/10, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>On Feb 22, 2010, at 7:45 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>Plus my wondering about the subjective in first position, since it
>>seemed rare to me to hear a subjective pronoun in the *only* position
>>after a preposition.
>you've imported an assumption made by most usage writers (and non-
>linguists) talking about case-marking in coordination, namely that the
>marking of the conjuncts follows from the marking of non-coordinate
>NPs.  this assumption is gratuitous.  (many people treat this
>hypothesis about the way case-marking works as a matter of logical
>necessity; things could not be otherwise.  but they are, in many
>languages and varieties of languages.  how case-marking works in
>coordination is an empirical question, the answer to be determined by
>investigating the systems of different varieties.  Larry Horn alluded
>to that fact in his posting here, and Geoff Pullum addressed it
>briefly in the Language Log posting of his i asteriskeed in my list of
>postings on nomconjobs.)
>[i've been working for over a year on a posting that treats case-
>marking in coordinate and non-coordinate NPs systematically, from the
>ground up.  but it's a hard slog, working around the many different
>syntactic frameworks in which these matters have been discussed.  it
>looks like yet another posting that will take 40-80 hours to finish,
>nominative case marking for non-coordinate NPs does occur, but for
>otherwise standard speakers/writers only in a collection of special
>cases.  some non-standard varieties, in some contexts, have nominative
>case in non-coordinate NPs ("It don't hurt I, and it pleases she";
>please don't write to say you reject this -- i *said* it was non-

Then (apologies if this has already been mentioned within the current
thread) there's the nuclear option:  the reflexive.  This has also
been addressed in the literature, often under the same
"hypercorrection" rubric as "Give it to John and I".  As with the
"me" > "I" within conjoined objects, the use of the 1st person
reflexive in both conjoined cases ("That was written by Barbara and
myself") and simple ones ("That was written by myself") has sometimes
been attributed to concerns of politeness or diffidence, among those
who don't want to appear egotistical or pushy but draw the line at
"That was written by I". I'm sure, and Arnold may be able to point us
to the relevant literature but for starters this viral reflexive is
discussed in that Angermeyer & Singler (2003) paper we both cited
earlier, although I think not in the Grano (2006) thesis, and I seem
to recall Bill Safire complaining about it in one or two of his


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