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On 05/09/2017 20:40, Mark J. Reed wrote:
> I would say the designation of English pronoun forms as "case" is 
> useful in some circumstances - for instance, as a basis of
> comparison for monolingual Anglophonic students of languages with
> actual case systems. :)

That's true if examples are carefully chosen and this is used as an
_introduction_ to the traditional IE case system.  But ...

[snip]
> 
> And of course they are historically derived from case. But as an 
> actual synchronic model of how the words are used in modern spoken 
> English, especially cross-dialectically, I agree that none of the 
> various systems encompassed by the linguistic term "case" fit very 
> well at all.

Quite so. One may make the point that, e.g. Latin or German rely on case
to distinguish subject and object, but that soon breaks down if applied
to English.  While German _uns sahen sie gestern_ will be ubderstood to
me mean "they saw _us_ yesterday", English _us saw they yesterday_ will
not.  It would be taken to be quaint dialect for standard "we saw then
yesterday".

On 05/09/2017 21:09, PETER BLEACKLEY wrote:
> It seems that we have another answer to my question, "When is a case
>  not a case?"
> 

A good question.  :)

In Government-Binding theory Case (usually capitalized to distinguish it
from less well defined traditional use of 'case') is a putatively
universal abstract property noun phrases.  It will be found that in
colloquial English both _me_ and _I_ may be used as Nominative (with
capital N) and in the colloquial speech of very many both _I_ and _me_
may fill the slot of whateever Case it is that is used in a
prepositional phrase (I'm not familiar with all the Case names in GB).

But Peter's question actually spells 'case' with lower-case intial. So
we're talking abnout not some theorety category of a particular
linguistic theory, but 'case' as traditionally which is, in Larry
Trask's words, "[a] distinctive, overtly marked form which can be
assumed by a N[oun ]P[hrase] to indicate that the NP bears some
identifiable grammatical or semantic relation to the rest of the
sentence." [ Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics]

Clearly _I_ and _me_ do not mark identifiable grammatical or semantic
relations in modern colloquial English.

As I see it, _I_ is used if immediately before the verb or, in question
inversion, imediately following the verb; in the latter instance this is
more often than not an auxiliary verb.  In these instances it is the
grammtical subject and does correspond to the traditional use of
'nominative'.

But, as Logan pointed out, we find that _me_ is the nominative subject
in sentences such as:
Me and John went to see him yesterday.
Can me and Gill go to see him?

Pedantic prescriptivists may object that these are not "correct"
English.  That IMHO is irrelevant.  These forms are _very_ common in
colloquial Englisg from people of all sorts of background; and they IME
(just 70+ years) the default in the spoken Engliush of children until
they are "corrected".

That latter point has led to another common phenomenon of modern
colloquial English - certainly in the UK.  That is the prevalent use
occurrence of sentences such as:
He told Mary and I about it.
He went there with James and I.

These type of phrases have become more and more widespread in spoken
English during my lifetime.  I've heard "At Richard and I's house"!

The origin of this clearly derived from the "correction" of "Me and Jim
will go" to "Jim and I will go."  But because _I_ and _me_ had already
lost any grammatical or semantic difference and become merely one of
_positional_ variance, a new rule was internalized, i.e. "after 'X an'
we use _I_".

In the various colloquial registers of English I argue that _I_ and _me_
are positional variants.  To describe this as 'case' IMO is confusing;
thus I agree wholeheartedly with And: "You make it seem weirder by
trying to characterize this as case ..."

What term better describes this allomorphy and, indeed, that of modern
English personal pronouns, I don't know.   Does one exist?

Ray