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Re: USAGE: Hither, thither and yon (was Re: Weekly Vocab 26)

From:Tristan McLeay <zsau@...>
Date:Monday, October 20, 2003, 9:52
On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, Richard Wordingham wrote:

> --- In, Tristan McLeay <zsau@F...> wrote: > > > At any rate, > > she used 'us' in the singular a while ago, something I've never > heard my > > parents (or any of their generation) do, so she's either copied it > off my > > generation (unlikely) or it skipped a generation or something. Is > singular > > us used in Britain? (e.g. 'pass us the knife' was what she said)). > > Yes, but only as an indirect object (without 'to'). Also occurs in > a very abbreviated form, 'Give it us' - possibly a contraction > of 'Give it to us'.
It suspected as much---seems no grammatical change in Australia isn't precipated by one in America or the UK---just like the rest of us (e.g. our Washminster political system). (And in this case I'd been assured that if I said anything like that to an American, they'd think I'd sound like .... whatisname ... the guy from LotR who loses his preciousssss... Of course, I imagine that varies from lect to lect. I'd initially suspected that as an indirect object was its distribution in Australian English too (or at least colloquial Melburnian, can't speak for the rest of the country), but things such as 'wait for us'='wait for me', 'let us through'='let me through' and 'email it to us'='email it to me' have definitely occurred (incl. by me well before I learnt anything about linguistics), e.g. 'give it to us' is the only way that particular expression would occur. And it's not a feature of low registers; it's absence (not 'distinct absence', though) is a feature of formal registers (i.e. you'd be able to get away with it in almost any situation barring formal writing/a speech (depending on your audience, of course; an oral presentation in English and it wouldn't lose you any marks, but you'd probably steer clear of using it if you were in a Liberal (our Republicans, though the official Liberal position is against a republic, so they're monarchists instead :) welcoming the US or Chinese President to Parliament. -- Tristan <kesuari@...> From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere. -- Dr. Seuss