[Ads-l] Baby Me Is Freaking Out

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Dec 31 18:43:32 UTC 2019

> On Dec 31, 2019, at 9:35 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> See Arnold Zwicky on accusative subjects of the form "poor me," "lucky me,"
> etc.:
> http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001762.html
> Also discussed here:
> https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2016/06/lucky-me.html
> On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 11:05 AM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
>> In an email about my past expectations about the future, I wrote
>> "Ten-year-old me thought that space exploration would have made great
>> strides, with colonies on the Moon and missions to Mars.  Twenty-year-old
>> me didn't think that."...

wow. BZ is impressive.  while i was trying to unearth my LLog discussion and Pat and Stewart's Grammarphobia one, Ben was right on the case.

note the nice little corollary that Adj + "me" as subject will have 3sg (default) verb "is" rather than 1sg (agreeing) verb, as in John B's example "Baby me is freaking/*am out" -- or the invented "Fifty-year-old me is/*am still a fan of space exploration".

while i was searching, i found:

1/24/12 Accusative

subject me with following loose modifiers:
(a) me + an appositive
(b) me + one of the loose modifiers for one, however, too

>When the pronoun stands alone in subject position, nominative case is not only standard, but close to invariable; accusative me as the entire subject of a finite clause occurs in the speech of children, non-native speakers, and semi-speakers (as well as in English-based pidgins and creoles), but otherwise it’s I all the way.

Things are different when the pronoun is only part of the subject; here, there is considerable variability — in the (a) and (b) types above, in coordinate subjects, and in some other constructions, for instance in poor me (rather than poor I) as subject and in us Ns (rather than we Ns) as subject. The facts are different for each construction, but there is a general tendency towards accusative case.<

7/15/16 A medal for pronoun case

about Tyler Lemon's undergraduate honors thesis on case in subject (note: specifically subject)                                 personal (note: specifically personal, not  interrogative or relative) pronouns in English

example types: coordination; as cardinal number modifier (we/us three); as modifier of PP (we/us with insurance); as modifier of NP (we/us linguists); in it-clefts (It was she/her that won the prize); in than comparatives (taller that I/me); in as comparative (as tall as I/me); after not (Not I/me!)

"the case forms of pronouns in the language can display high variability, but only when the [NP] is complex" -- when the pronoun is a one-word NP, nominative forms are invariable

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

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