Re: THEORY: case systems [was Viko Notes]
|From:||Marcus Smith <smithma@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, June 27, 2002, 21:35|
I agree with Sobin that the case facts in coordinate structures fall
outside the scope of Universal Grammar, but I found his use of the term
"grammatical virus" quite unfortunate. The analogy with a virus disrupting
the normal workings of grammar is very misleading, I think. These quirks
don't show up to modify "correct" grammar, but exist where the grammar is
not clear how things should be: either the point in question is undefined,
or there are multiple potentially correct solutions.
On Wed, 26 Jun 2002, Doug Dee wrote:
> People interested in this subject might like to find the Spring 1997 issue
> (vol 28 #2) of _Linguistic Inquiry_, in which Nicholas Sobin claims that the
> prescribed construction "Mary and I left early" (as opposed to the common
> "Mary and me . . .") is actually contrary to universal grammar and not part
> of anyone's natural linguistic competence. The same claim is made about
> several other constructions of "prestige English." The article is entitled
> "Agreement, Default Rules, and Grammatical Viruses".
> In a message dated 6/26/2002 8:21:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> a-rosta@ALPHAPHE.COM writes:
> > Marcus Smith
> > > On Wed, 26 Jun 2002, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> > >
> > > > (Note that your first example is almost always an instance
> > > > of hypercorrection, in that that speaker usually doesn't also say
> > *"give
> > > > it to Jim and he" or "give it to Jim and they".
> > >
> > > This is the standard interpretation, but is probably wrong. As far back
> > as
> > > can be traced by written records, Indo-European languages have been
> > > putting non-initial conjuncts in the nominative case (not consistently,
> > > but as an option).
> > The evidence strongly suggests that nonsubjective "and I" did indeed
> > originate as a hypercorrection (though it is no longer hypercorrective),
> > and hence that the cross-linguistic parallels you cite serve only to
> > demonstrate the general point that some sorts of morphosyntactic
> > marking are weakened by coordination. That is, coordination has a
> > predispositive effect on case mismatches, but the actual aetiology of
> > this particular change is hypercorrection.
> > The evidence is this:
> > (1) A prescriptive rule ordaining that the first person singular
> > pronoun be ordered last in coordination, misinterpreted as a rule
> > requiring "I" rather than "me".
> > (2) A prescriptive rule stigmatizing conjunct "me" as subject of
> > a finite clause, and furthermore prescribing "I" as subject of
> > a nonfinite clause (contrary to the general trend of usage).
> > (3) The distribution of nonsubjective "and I" across registers,
> > text-types and sociolects: although it is rapidly spreading, I
> > believe that a large and diverse enough corpus would show it
> > starts out as formal rather than informal, spoken rather than
> > written, and originating in a particular stratum of the middle
> > class that is particularly susceptible to prescriptively driven
> > hypercorrection.
> > > It is also untrue that these mismatches only occur with "I", though this
> > > is also what you frequently read or hear. Shakespeare used lines like
> > > "between my good man and he" (Merry Wives). This use of "I" is more
> > common
> > > than the others, but it is not unique.
> > I suspect that those older examples are part of a different
> > phenomenon, where again the case mismatch is conditioned by
> > the coordination, but the actual cause is not hypercorrective
> > but semantic.
> > As for contemporary English, if "and he/she/they/we" is occurring,
> > I think the stats would show that it is due to generalization of
> > the already established "and I" pattern.
> > --And.