Non-Standard conjoined subject noun phrases

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Feb 26 17:22:44 UTC 2010

On Feb 26, 2010, at 5:55 AM, Amy West wrote:
>> a number of linguists have noted that the scheme for vernacular case
>> marking is:
>>   use Nom for a subject (that is, a "complete subject");
>>   use Acc otherwise.
>> and some have claimed that this system is more "natural" than the
>> prescriptive standard system.
>> arnold
> This is one of the "speech errors" ("Me and Billy went to the store")
> that McWhorter says is not an error in _Word on the Street_, and
> honestly, it surprised me. I guess my idiolect has internalized this
> prescriptive rule. I've noticed my husband correcting our 13-year-old
> when he says "Me and Dylan . . . " (but I haven't touched it).

alas, there are two very different senses of "error"/"mistake" in the
usage of non-specialists: inadvertent errors (which are not intended)
vs. "advertent mistakes" (which come out as intended, but deviate from
some usage norm, from what "should have" been produced).

[there are several sets of terminology for distinguishing these: my
"inadvertent" vs. "advertent"; Goffman's "knows better" vs. "doesn't
know better"; Nunberg's "typo" vs. "thinko".]

i suspect that AccConjSubjs like "me and Dylan" as subject virtually
*never* occur as inadvertent errors.  their perceived offense is
social, not a matter of glitches in language production.


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