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.


A Song for Beny

This little dog came into my life three years ago, but in that short time, he became a cherished companion. When he died this week at the age of thirteen, he left us who knew him with broken hearts but with fond memories of the unique little guy he was.


Shop Talk

I recognized my antagonist right away; I didn’t know who he was, but I recognized him. Or her. Too early to tell.

He walked in out of the night into the bar, wearing a long woolen winter coat. The locals thought this was cold weather, and to fit in, people like my antagonist and I dressed the part. I sat at the far end of the bar, right near the corner, with a view toward the door for reasons exactly like this. Although, in decades of doing this job, I’ve never once run into my counterpart. Or anyone from the other side, for that matter. But when my antagonist walked in, I knew right away who he was. We can always recognize each other, no matter how good the disguise. If the humans were paying attention, they might have noticed the telltale signs, but they rarely noticed people like us.

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