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----- Original Message -----
From: Sally Caves <[log in to unmask]>
To: Multiple recipients of list CONLANG <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, September 20, 1999 5:31 PM
Subject: Re: THEORY: Natural language change (was Re: Charlie and I)

> And sigh as I will, I think the "lie/lay" distinction is going to be
> snuffed out within my lifetime.

I hope so... I always feel like using "lay" as a past tense sounds strange,
even though it's the prescribed word, and "lain" sounds downright foreign. I
usually use "lay" both as transitive and intransitive, I guess because I
always thought "lie down" sounded ultraformal and foppish. On the subject of
"It is I," etc., I would say "It is me" or better, "That is me," although my
mother insists on saying "This is she." But then she prefers "sneaked" to
"snuck" ;O)

Re: preterit vs. perfect, I think "did you do your homework" sounds
perfectly appropriate, and "have you done your homework" is ok too (but it
sounds a bit formal). However, it really annoys me to hear people use the
perfect tense where one would usually use the past tense, e.g. there was a
commercial where a woman said something like "Tony's been my dentist since
I've been a child." AARGH!! :)