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Who ME? Pronouns: English and German
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quote
shrevek
 
Joined: 06 Feb 2007
Posts: 1


"Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Dave stole the cookie from the cookie jar.
Who me?
Yes, you!
Couldn't be!
Then who?"


Did you sing this song in school? Who me?

Who broke the lamp? It was me! It was I who broke the lamp.

Where's Tom? That's him over there! (Thomson, 77)

She is older than me -but- she is old than I am.
(Thomson says both are ok, the second is formal)


Why does English use the object pronouns when the meaning is clearly nominative?

Is this simply the way we speak? Is the use of the subject pronoun older and just lost in everyday speech?

Does any one say '...than I' or 'who I?' Does anyone hear this in everyday speech?


In contrast, German only uses the subject pronouns.

bitte nehmen Sie bitte das Telefon ab. wer ich?

hör auf damit! wer ich?

sie ist älter als ich.



What do you think?
Thanks,
Justin

Thomson & Martinet. A Practical English Grammar. Oxford Uni. Press. 4th Ed. 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 8:12 am Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


About a year and a half ago, we did a podcast on our pet peeves. I recall that at the time, I had trouble identifying specific things that bothered me about common English usage. (I think I was too focused on recording the three of us Nerds successfully that day.)

This is one of my pet peeves. Or, at least, it's a grammar point that makes me wonder.

English speakers seem to have a love-hate relationship with the pronoun "I." It is the only one-letter pronoun in our language. It is written with a capital letter. That might bespeak a bit of egocentricity in our language, I don't know.

I am only wildly guessing, but maybe our desire to substitute the object pronoun "me" in a phrase like "who, me?" is related to this discomfort with "I."

One pet peeve we did mention on that show was the hyper-correction many English speakers use when they erroneously substitute "I" for me in a phrase like "My grandparents visited my brother and me."

I'm offering no authoritative insight here. I hope others will respond as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:57 am Reply with quote
Howard Shepherd
 
Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 16
Location: Asheville, NC


shrevek,
The issue of nominative vs. objective case in English has been one of my pet peeves. Me, I would never confuse the two! Wink

I think that eventually the "he/him" and the "who/whom" distinction will disappear.
As a purist, I'm sorry about that, but I have to admit that the distinction is a grammatical one, and doesn't really affect the meaning.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:20 pm Reply with quote
Yankee
 
Joined: 24 Nov 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Connecticut, USA


The "who/whom" distinction seems to be well on its way toward going the way of the dinosaurs. There are plenty of reputable ESL grammar books that are now accepting "who" as an acceptable alternative for "whom".

Interestingly, one of my typical mistakes when I was first learning German was to say "Mich auch" -- I was unthinkingly trying to do a direct translation of "Me too." Laughing

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 8:45 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Yankee wrote:
Interestingly, one of my typical mistakes when I was first learning German was to say "Mich auch" -- I was unthinkingly trying to do a direct translation of "Me too." Laughing

Ja, klar, Amy. Ich auch. (Und meine Schüler auch!)

Happens all the time with my students.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:11 am Reply with quote
RabiAkiva
 
Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 163
Location: Israel


Yeah, I too

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Who ME? Pronouns: English and German
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