At 12:58 pm -0400 19/9/99, Nik Taylor wrote:
>"Raymond A. Brown" wrote:
>> But this some form of case differentiation; in the first we have a singular
>> subject; in the second the subject is plural.  'I' happens to be nominative
>> _singular_ so we don't use 'I' when it forms part of a compound plural
>> subject.
>Well, yeah, but I think that it's almost co-incidence (synchronically
>speaking), as in those dialects there appears to be a movement towards
>cliticization of the "subject" pronouns, much as happened with French
>"je" and "me"

I'm afraid I don't see the similarity with French. 'I' certainly doesn't
automatically attach itself, as 'je' does, to a string of pro-complements
(including the empty string) affixed to the verb.  'I' is often separated
quite a bit from verbs by adverbs: e.g. 'I often go there'.  Unless we're
to take 'often go' as a verbal compound, then it's difficult to see how 'I'
is clitic.

>> And don't forget that all the personal pronouns, except 'you',
>> have two forms (besides possessives).
>Right, "cliticized" and "free".

I think not.

If the old nominative forms had become cliticized, then surely there'd be a
great reluctance ever to have evolved things like: 'He gave Charlie & I
some donuts'.  Unfortunately, the latter type of expression has caught on
so readily that some people feel 'He gave Charlie & me some donuts' to be

There is also a marked tendency in modern spoken English this side of the
pond, at least, to use nominative forms before relative pronouns, e.g. 'It
turned out all right for we who waited there'.  Surely, if 'I' were clitic,
this would militate against such "ungrammatical" tendencies?

And the endless debates about "It's I" and "It's me" would not occur - but
they do.

No.  As I see it, English had evolved a case system but the prescriptivists
simply were not interested in analyzing it or even admitting its existence.
They tried to impose on the language a "correct form" based upon what they
imperfectly understood of Latin grammar & spiced it with a little
'politeness' and in the end produced the present day confusion.

>> But they are - me & Charlie meets them most days  :)
>Is the "meets" a joke?  I'm just wondering, because I don't think I've
>ever heard the verbal -s used with a plural subject around here (indeed,
>there are many who don't use it even with singular subjects).

Not at all.  In the dialect I grew up with final -s is used for all
persons, both singular & plural, in the simple present tense.   This is
very common in southern English dialects (I grew up in West Sussex) and is
still very much alive in the English of the coastal plain of south east

It's just a reminder that the living language has grammatical forms which
are not those of the prescriptivists.

And at 12:36 pm -0500 19/9/99, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>Nik Taylor wrote:
>> "Thomas R. Wier" wrote:
>> when seperated from the verb), but not even prescriptively correct,
>> since prescriptivists say that the 1st person should come last.  Hmm,
>> sounds Biblical, "the first shall be last"  :-)
>Which is funny, since Latin syntax IIRC required (suggested?  does
>it make sense to talk about such things for Latin syntax? ;) )  that the
>be ordered in the literal order of pronominal deixis:  first person comes
>first, second person comes second, third person third:
>"Ego, tu et Brutus Caesarem interfecimus."

Absolutely.  Cardinal Wolsey (spelling?) got into trouble with Henry VIII
because he began a letter in correct Latin: 'ego et meus rex...'

'I & Charlie went' would conform to the Latin pattern.

As I said above, the prescriptivists so often produced something that was
neither 'natural English' nor correct Latin.  E.g. English left to itself
would say "It's me"; the Latinate form would require "It am I" (like Old
English 'hit aem ic').  The modern prescriptivist "It is I" is a muddled
hypercorrection. ACHHHH!