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On 4 September 2017 at 12:35, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On 4 September 2017 at 14:47, Logan Kearsley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> So, colloquial English does a pretty weird thing with case assignment.
>>
>> Basically, it appears that the default case for pronouns is objective,
>> not nominative, and nominative case is obligatorily assigned *only* in
>> the very specific circumstance of a pronoun forming the entirety of
>> the subject (not part of a larger coordinated phrase) of an explicitly
>> pronounced verb. E.g.:
>>
>> "I like icecream." - good
>> *"Me like icecream." - bad
>> ?"She and I like icecream." - OK, but stylistically marked in my 'lect.
>> "Me and her like icecream." - good.
>>
>> In the context of answering the question "Who likes icecream?":
>>
>> "I do!" - good.
>> *"Me do!" - bad, because the verb is pronounced.
>> ?"I!" - very weird
>> "Me!" - good
>>
>> Are there any documented conlangs that have similar case-assignment
>> weirdness? Or, for that matter, any natlangs where this sort of thing
>> is formally recognized as correct grammar?
>>
>
> You make it seem weirder by trying to characterize this as case (i.e. a
> category that pairs allomorphy with a fairly consistent semanticosyntactic
> property): a better characterization of the English facts is that a handful
> of personal pronouns have an allomorph conditioned inflectionally by
> various heterogeneous syntactic conditions -- with these conditions being,
> in contemporary English, subject to quite extreme interlectal variation,
> often -- to an increasing extent -- in ways that are sensitive to what I
> call 'falutation' (a.k.a. 'register'). While the heterogeneity of those
> syntactic conditions is weird (tho plainly explicable historically as the
> detritus of diachronic change under the perverse influence of
> prescriptivism), the weirdness is misleadingly exaggerated by lumping those
> conditions together and calling the lump a 'case'.
>
> If there are conlangs with phenomena of comparable grammatical and
> sociolinguistic complexity, there's no end to the plaudits due to the
> conlangs' creators' attention to detail!

I wonder if, at least in some varieties, it might make sense to
analyze English pronouns in terms of absolute vs. construct *state*,
rather than case. That doesn't end up working so well for
hypercorrections like "between you and I", but treating the
traditionally-nominal pronouns as *absolute* forms rather than
nominative case forms would explain why they obligatorily, and
exclusively, appear when acting as the sole subject. That kind of
fails at explaining the use of objective forms in elliptical
situations, though.

So, I dunno. Maybe it's *less* weird if you don't call it case, but
it's still *weird*!

-l.