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Re: OT: Latin subject-verb agreement

From:caeruleancentaur <caeruleancentaur@...>
Date:Thursday, December 13, 2007, 14:29
>"T. A. McLeay" <conlang@...> wrote:
>They're special. I don't know all the details, but in English you say >things like "It's me", whereas decent languages with proper >nominative first person singular pronouns say "It's I", or "Me and >John went for a run" or "Jack beat John and I". Similar bugs can be >found in all the English pronouns ("Us English speakers don't use >pronouns properly all the time", "Latin speakers did case better >than we English speakers").
>I don't know all the details,...
I'm trying very hard not to sound rude, but IMO you don't know any of the details.
> English you say...
Am I correct in believing that English is not your L1? You can still hear some of us say (depending on the milieu), "It is I." And serious works still use it, as in the English translation of the Biblical story of Jesus walking on the water, wherein he says, "It is I. Do not be afraid."
>...whereas decent languages with proper nominative first person >singular pronouns say "It's I",...
Do I assume, then, that French is not a decent language because the French say, "c'est moi"? I believe this is known as the disjunctive pronoun. It seems to be taking over in English. Just another example of the growth of the language.
>"Jack beat John and I"
Yes, many speakers of English (Americans, at least) have a problem with compound subjects or objects. This is usually a problem of hypercorrection. We've had the use of "I" drummed into our heads so much that we use it ALL the time. Perhaps this is another detail you didn't know. However, there are still those of us who know how to use these pronouns properly. Perhaps you need a little more exposure to those of us who speak the language prescriptively. And even we know how to use incorrect expressions for effect. I've been known to say "ain't" in a homily!
>"Us English speakers..."
Likewise with appositive expressions.
>"Latin speakers did case better than we English speakers").
I finally figured out what you were trying to say. I would have said, "used cases," but that's just me, (whoops, I). However, while the classical writers may have used the Latin cases properly, I find it hard to believe that the hoi polloi did not misuse them. I should think that this "misuse" of the cases was what led (at least in part) to the development of the Romance languages. Charlie


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
T. A. McLeay <conlang@...>