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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: A Slip of the Quill
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0365  Thursday 4 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Mar 1999 16:20:09 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill

[2]     From:   Lucia Anna Setari <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Mar 1999 01:06:24 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Mar 1999 16:20:09 -0000
Subject: 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill

Stephanie Hughes writes:

>Modern grammar rules were in their infancy in Shakespeare's time, as was
>modern spelling,

Well, no, sixteenth and seventeenth century grammatical rules were just
as firmly in place then as twentiieth century grammatical rules (note
the plural-which grammar of which linguistic register are we talking
about?) are now-what was in its infancy (in Western Europe, as India had
been at it long before) was (or were) grammarians, whether prescriptive
or descriptive.

>If not, Shakespeare, or his
>compositors, was/were guilty throughout of a number of grammatical
>errors to our present way of thinking, including a plentiful use of
>double negatives.

The double negative was (like the split infinitive) a perfectly
acceptable grammatical form, operating (as in Greek) as an intensifier.
The Infant Grammarians, however, chose Latin rather than Greek as their
model to 'describe' English, and so deemed it illicit.  For once they
won, against common accepted usage.

It's perhaps relevant the the latest issue from the Oxford Dictionary
stable, The New Oxford Dictionary of English, at last re-legitimates the
split infinite, finally if belatedly recognising that English is a
positional and not an inflexional language.  "Matum Catus Sitsupon" is
the cat sits on the Latin mat, no matter how you switch the words
around, but in English, if you have a mat sitting on a cat, you have one
stiffled pussy.

Robin Hamilton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lucia Anna Setari <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 4 Mar 1999 01:06:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0361 Re: A Slip of the Quill

 Peter Hillyar-Russ wrote

>>Ali A. Al-Ghamdi says of "It's me"
>>That's grammatically wrong. Good English, of course, invokes the law of
>>the predicate nominative, which calls for "It's I." Even better English,
> >which eschews contractions, would be, "It is I."
>
>Well, certainly, every one says so - but I think there is a grammatical
>error being made by the critics in assuming that "me" can only be an
>accusative pronoun. Certainly "To be" is an intransitive verb, so "It is
>+ [accusative]" would be a solecism. But surely "me" here is not an
>accusative, but an ethic dative. The French use "C'est moi" in these
>circumstances, and a similar dative form exists in classical Greek (and
>I presume, without knowledge, in Latin too).

In Latin "Ego sum" ( I am) is the answer.

I think even of the common people, because in Italian too we say 'Sono
io' (Am I) or just 'Io' (I).

But in some northen Italy's dialects they say:  'Son mi'.

In Italian 'mi' can be accusative as well as dative, but in this contest
it is commonly intended as accusative (though there is surely also a
relish of ethic dative). All the more it is intended as accusative
because in some other dialects we find: 'Sono io me' - that is: 'Am I
me'; where 'me' is surely accusative and seems to have the function  to
emphasize 'io' and (in a childish way) to explicate it trying to
objectify it.

I think it an accusative, because it seems to me that this construct
implies: 'You are hearing me' (my voice, that is me).

I think that the dative of 'I' could come from construction of verbs
that imply a dative (for example, in Southen Italy's dialects,
influenced by Spanish, we have: 'Io sento a te' that is : ' I hear to
you',instead of 'I hear you').

I am not a grammarian. But I hope this may be a little contribute
(though my bad English makes me think that I would be one who could
answer 'Am I' , and remain outside forever....)

L. Anna S.
 

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