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Between You and I: The Emergence of a Nominative Absolute in English

Coordination phrases (CPs) like between you and I and give this to your mom or I, wherein the nominative/subject case is substituted for the expected accusative/object case, have been increasing in frequency in contemporary spoken English. Such constructions are generally assumed to result from a hypercorrection to avoid constructions like Me and Bob went to the movies. However, hypercorrection alone cannot account for all the instances of this construction. To explore possible root causes for this construction, I examined instances of spoken and recorded speech and surveyed speakers to draw out the underlying rules governing the case used by speakers when forming coordination phrases. Initial results suggest that hypercorrection is unlikely to account for the use of the subject case in all such instances, and instead, there is evidence for the emergence of a nominative absolute construction creating coordination phrases that are unaffected by the syntactic demands of the surrounding sentence.