[Ads-l] RES: Reflexive pronoun 'epidemic' in BrE

David Daniel dad at COARSECOURSES.COM
Sun Jul 31 13:30:27 UTC 2016

Bizarre, I can remember this British usage as being common, say, 50 years
ago and it is certainly way older than that. Usually among lower/working
classes and often used wryly, applied to one of similar social level who is
suspected of putting on airs. Like: The butler comes in and says something
plummy, and one cook says to the other, "Well, just listen to himself!" That
sort of thing. Maybe usage has broadened lately, but it's not new.

Poster:       David Kendal <me at DPK.IO>
Subject:      Reflexive pronoun 'epidemic' in BrE

Has anyone investigated this more thoroughly? Does BrE really use more
reflexive pronouns than AmE? Is this a recent trend?


Specifically, use of prep. + refl. pron. instead of the more standard subj.

As a BrE speaker I think I instinctively associate this pattern with
politeness or modesty in relatively formal contexts, particularly in
=E2=80=98for myself=E2=80=99 meaning =E2=80=98if it were up to me=E2=80=99=
, with an implication that the speaker has been persuaded to undertake a
task which normally they would not.

But that's all anecdotal.

dpk (David P. Kendal) =C2=B7 Nassauische Str. 36, 10717 DE =C2=B7 =
  The House of Commons [is] like Noah=E2=80=99s Ark=E2=80=94a few men & =
many beasts.
                                             =E2=80=94 Samuel Taylor =

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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