9 December 2022

The First Lord of the Treasury ...

 ... recently gave voice to the phrase "between him and I".

Somebody should find out where this monster of illiterate grammatical ineptitude got his education, and then we should have a Royal Commission to help decide what should be done to destroy that place hook, line, and whatever. Nec lapis in loco relinquatur ...

In a memorable poetic epiclesis during an earlier time of sorest national crisis, Sir John Betjeman spoke for the Nation when he bravely called upon Herr Goering's "friendly bombs" to fall on Slough. 

Did the Luftwaffe use up all its supply of pyroboli benigni on Slough? Or might there be some teensy weensy bomblets left tucked away for the present dire emergency?

Can NATO help? Are President Truman's superb bombers available for hire?


Prayerful said...

The fictional Mr David Brent might disagree with your words.



It seems a fairly reasonable, middling place that has suffered from bad architects, developers and town planners, like many places, including those not bombed or only slightly bombed. The politician might like Sigismund, King of the Romans, and declare that he is the First Lord of the Treasury and therefore above grammar. Anyhow, Sir John's words against crude change and greed are universal and not an attack on a town nearly (nearby Windsor is closer to the exact middle) midway between London and Reading.

PDLeck said...

The Rt Hon First Lord of the Treasury went to Winchester College, and Fr Hunwicke, your university.

I didn't have the opportunities provided by a private education followed by Oxbridge. Nonetheless my grammar are well.

Grant Milburn said...

Don't worry. In a another century or so, the grammarians will have thrown up their hands, accepted a fait accompli, and incorporated the new usage into their grammars:

Ist person singular pronoun:
Subjective: I
Objective: Me
Dative: Me
Prepositional: Me
Conjunctive: I.

By then to say "The boss was speaking to Jim, and I" will be considered elegant usage, and people who say "to Jim and me" will be considered barbarians.

I've been reading one chapter of Luke a day since December the first, to take me to Christmas Eve. So today I was reading the ninth chapter. Verses 52 to 56 had me meditating on aerial and fiery destruction and when, if ever, it is right to desire it. It seems best to give the location the benefit of the doubt: even Sodom would have been spared for the sake of ten righteous men.

coradcorloquitur said...

For a long time I have noticed a somewhat innocent neglect of proper usage of pronouns now morphed into manipulation: first the erasure of the difference between objective and nominative cases; more recently, the ideological manipulation of pronouns with the purpose of hammering into all of us---WITHOUT EXCEPTION---the dictatorial Marxist program of gender fluidity, the ultimate purpose being the old Communist notion that human nature is malleable and not a stable creation. It is, it must be admitted, a master stroke by the malevolent forces that now rule the West in destabilizing even what God and Nature have made luminously clear and definitive: all in flux, all relative, all amorphous so that the Masters of the Universe can "help" us (or is it "accompany" us, Your Holiness?) decide who and what we are. The ultimate coup for their power grab: perversion of language being their master tool. George Orwell had warned us.

Albertus said...

Such modern-day grammatical errors as "Between you and I", "They invited you and I to come visit" are most likely hypocorrections. People have learnt that it is wrong to say "You and me have been invited", that one should say "You and I have been invited"; thus, out of fear to sound uneducated, some began to use the phrase "you and I" in all grammatical situations, even when "you and me" would be the only correct expression. This has also to do with the breakdown of the pronomial case system, and the ever more widespread belief, that grammar does not matter, that one should speak and write however one may wish.

Wynn said...

With respect, Albertus, hypercorrection would seem to be a rather more probable explanation than hypocorrection. But yes, there surely is an increasing failure to grasp that pronouns have cases, and that therefore an understanding of grammatical context is basic to knowing how to deploy them.

That having been said, I wonder if there is some merit to Grant Milburn’s hypothesisation of a (future) "conjunctive case"? I have certainly seen it argued that a phrase like “Jim and I” is a single grammatical entity and not therefore subject to separate grammatical analysis of the two conjoined parts. I think – indeed, I hope – that we are some way off accepting such an account; but I’m not sure I’d bet against it in the long run. Linguistic development can be a rum thing sometimes.

The Saint Bede Studio said...

Me for one, things that we should be able to speak and write gist as we lighk, so long as the meaningness is cleer to them what are glistening to yous.

Fr Allan said...

And there are problems on this side of the Atlantic too. Today's Wall Street Journal, no less, reports that the "US Government had took ...."

Grant Milburn said...

Linguistic development IS rum. The English pronouns have gone through a lot since Anglo-Saxon times. The dual has been lost, so we can no longer say "wit" for "we two." The dative forms have ousted the objective forms so we say "I saw him" and not "I saw hin." The third person singular neuter has been remodeled.

The second person plural objective "you" has ousted the subjective "ye." The second person plural has then proceeded to replace the second person singular (thou/thee) save for occasional poetic and liturgical use.

For the third person plural the Anglo-Saxon forms have been replaced by Norse forms, which have then invaded the third person singular, as English (unlike Austronesian) has no gender neutral term in the third person singular, if you disregard "it". 

When I was a boy, people were debating the merits of "It is I" versus "It is me". It was agreed that we could use "me" as an emphatic form in the manner of the French "C'est moi." For the future, we can expect the Conjunctive "I" to spread,  in parallel with Emphatic "Me", so that sentences such as "he spoke to Jim and I" and "I believe that Jim and me should go" will be acceptable in even the most formal written English.

 Then people will become so confused about when to use I or Me that the whole system will collapse, and we will just use Me for everything. It will be like the Celtic languages  which use reflexes of Proto-Celtic *mi from Proto-Indo European *me  for the first person singular subject pronoun, where you might have expected a reflex of PIE *eg(h2)om, as in other Indo-European languages. Well, bring it on, but not just yet. I'm like a grammarian in 6th-century Gaul, watching street Latin changing into French, and saying "Not on my watch, if I have anything to do with it."

Albertus said...

Thankyou! Of course, i meant "Hypercorrection". English is not my native tongue (even though my birth mother was 100 percent English!)

Albertus said...

Yesterday I was watching a Youtube video. A university studentess showed up in a zoom window during the video, and introduced herself by saying: "Hello. My name is ... My pronouns are she, hers, her." I had never heard such silliness before! I could only think: of course those are "your" pronouns: whatever else could they be?