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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Me You I Too

I want me want you want no
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...and I too!


20 comments:

  1. The baby's actually correct in the last panel. Saying "me" in response to the question "Who wants…" is not correct even though it's a very common mistake.

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    1. Well... “I” by itself isn’t correct.

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    2. It's grammatically fine. "I do" is more idiomatic.

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    3. I will add that English, unlike many other lanugages, isn't standardised, so the question of what is "correct" or what isn't "correct" is not particularly meaningful. People often defer to what is in common literary use, which would suggest "me" or "I do" is correct here (despite the former being ungrammatical). From extrapolation of apparent grammatical rules, it would seem that "I" should be correct as well (and is indeed historically used in that form).

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    4. "me" in response to the question "who wants" is perfectly correct in English. It's just that in the 18th century people studied Latin and found that in Latin such a construction is ungrammatical and decided that if it is that way in Latin, it must be that way in English too, surely. And while that holds true for many other European languages, it doesn't for English (or French, where English likely got it from).

      Same goes for constructions like "me and him went to the store", which are perfectly fine in English and the "no it's wrong it should be 'He and I'" is just not correct.

      http://fine.me.uk/Emonds/ explores this to some extent.

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    5. This has nothing to do with Latin; the distinction between accusative and nominative case is inherited from the Germanic origins of English and is present in every Germanic language. English is literally the only Germanic language where the use of the accusative "me" is common in this case.

      How are you gleaning this from your linked source? The only thing I can find on it related to subject pronouns is something about "morphological transparency" which doesn't seem to have anything to do with this.

      "Me and him went to the store" has never been correct in the history of English. Old English would also use iċ and hē here, as opposed to mē and hine.

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    6. Yes, this is due to Latin. English is indeed a Germanic language, but is very different from other Germanic languages in many respects. For example other Germanic languages are V2, English is not. Other Germanic languages have Nominative and Accusative (and other cases), and so did Old English, as you mentioned, but modern English does not.

      English has a Nominative and an oblique case
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_case

      But when people first started to analyze English grammar, they did so through the lens of Latin grammar, which led to the creation of faulty rules like the answer to "who is it" should be "It is I" when correct English is "It is me". Note that I'm saying that the grammar rules in grammar books come from Latin, not that English inherited its grammar from Latin.

      >"Me and him went to the store" has never been correct in the history of English.

      It has been correct for a long while, and continues to be so:
      https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3469
      https://web.stanford.edu/~zwicky/Grano.finalthesis.pdf

      >Old English would also use iċ and hē

      Yes, because Old English is closer to its Germanic roots. As I already mentioned above, using oblique pronoun forms in nominative positions was likely introduced by French influence, so after the Norman conquest.

      >How are you gleaning this from your linked source?

      I didn't put the link as a source, just as link that explores the topic to some extent.

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    7. Well put. Linguist John McWhorter touched on this in a podcast once, too.

      https://slate.com/human-interest/2016/10/john-mcwhorter-on-the-made-up-rules-of-pronouns.html

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  2. I doubt this. Shouldn't that be "I do!", and if there is no verb, "me" would be completely fine? I speak it as a foreign language, so please correct me.

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  3. reference on the english stackexchange "“Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?" answer by user "nohat". (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link here)

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    1. That was a fascinating read. I'm a native English speaker (Australian) and I don't think I'd ever reply with "I" to "who want's Ice Cream". I certainly wouldn't reply "Not I" unless I was physically incapable of eating it ;)

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  4. I'm going to bet that the baby thinks "I" means other people while "me" does not.

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    1. Baby Bean doesn't realize his father is trying to correct sentence grammar, and thus takes everything the father says as the father's own statement. It's vaguely like the "Who's on first" skit but much less complex.

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  5. This makes me laugh because when I was little and learning my alphabet I always said "T, Me, V" instead of "T, U, V" because I had the concept of me and you down and didn't get that 'U' was also a letter!

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  6. Ha ha ! It happens with foreign language students as well. That's why we, FL teachers, are trained to give structured feedback to give the complete pattern like in that case : "you want more ? Me too, I want more ", with the emphasis on the I :p
    Anyway, I'll print this one !

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  7. Oh, that sounds a little like my cousin: she got the concept of "me" and "you", but if I asked her "is this teddy yours?" she would answer "No, it's mine!"

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  8. I've had this exact experience with a little Arab three-year-old. She's learning English, but there's no "me/I" situation in Arabic for her to relate it to. Melt-downs a many.

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