From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main areas of knowledge/competency are related to hearing impairment and linguistics.

I also forage a fair bit, and like to play "WikiRoulette" (called the Random Page link - *grin*).

Dramatis Temporae:

My father was born just outside of the town of Leipzig, Germany in 1940.

My mother was born in Königsberg, East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia) in 1944.

My parents crossed paths in childhood during the WWII Allies' bombing of Dresden. My father was awakened by his parents to see the orange glow in the sky resulting from the bombing. My mother's family, her included, were on a train en route to Bavaria. That train stopped about an hour outside of Dresden, soon after which the bombing raid began. However, they did not actually meet until their late teens, after each of their families had moved to the area of Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

My brother (in 1969) and I (in 1974) were born in Frankfurt am Main. My partner was born in 1957, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. We all live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

My father passed away unexpectedly in 1989, just weeks before the Berlin Wall fell.

I spent 1990 as an exchange student in Auckland, New Zealand.

I attended Grinnell college, starting in 1992. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology in December of 1995.

I now work in the Information Technology field for an insurance company.

My mother and I were in Germany on September 11, 2001.

In addition to the English language and German, I either speak or have studied American Sign Language, French, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Greek, plus smatterings of many other languages.

Grammatical and Orthographic Pet Peeves
I have been known to edit an article simply for any one of these mistakes, particularly when they compromise clarity.

  • Confusing it’s and its. it’s = "it is", its = possessive form of "it".
  • Confusing who’s and whose. See above.
  • "It is I" is incorrect. The correct form is "It is me." (After all, you'd never say "It's I!") Compare with "It is him/her": Your choices are "I/He/She/It/You (verb) me/him/her/it/you." See English grammar for a chart of all pronoun declensions.
  • And just to mark myself as a bad example, try to avoid confusing "who" and "whom". A quick test: replace who/whom with he/him. Use "who" if "he" sounds natural, and use "whom" if "him" sounds right.
  • Affect is a cause, effect is a result. Also, insure : ensure :: protect : make sure.
  • Principal is the head of a school, or a noun meaning "chief, main, primary"; Principle is an ideal or a general rule.
    • The principal of the school was the principal advocate for the principle of fairness for all students.
Peeving right back at you: "It is I" is not incorrect, it's formal and/or archaic. "It is I, Arthur King of the Britons." "It is I, Big Billy Goat Gruff." While we're at it, "affect" is only a noun in a very limited and technical sense, and the "insure/ensure" stuff is partly UK/UK. Vicki Rosenzweig, Friday, July 5, 2002
Hi Vicki... Actually, I was referring to the use of "affect" and "effect" as verbs. As a noun, "affect" is pronounced /} fEkt/, and is rarely misspelled. As a verb, it's pronounced /@ fEkt/. I pronounce "effect" /i fEkt/ or /E fEkt/, but I often hear /@ fEkt/. Regardless, most people don't seem to realize that they are two distinct words with distinct meanings: His behavior affected the effects of the law. The problem is that the distinction is subtle enough that it's hard to encapsulate in a short "rule of thumb".
As for "It is I"... I wasn't aware of the formal/archaic use. I just thought it was wrong, based on the "incorrect" declension of the pronoun. Though I've always been willing, based on common usage, to accept it as an emphatic form (grammatical deviation for emphasis). Thanks for the correction/info!
I believe that the theory goes that, since the subject and the object of the verb to be are referring to the same thing, they take the same case (the nominative). If you use your own argument about who and whom, and use whom where him would go in the sentence it is him, then you come out with whom are you? which is unnatural at best and ear-grating at worst. :) thefamouseccles 23:17 GMT, 05-06-03
Yes, but isn't the Wh-word in your *whom are you example actually the subject of the verb? cf. "he is you", "they are you", therefore "who are you". It's important to use the parallel construction! In your example, the actual Wh-word replacement would be it is whom? This is a case where many English speakers exhibit ergativity by using "it is who" and "it is he" instead of the more correct "it is whom" and "it is him".  :-) pgdudda 04:11 9 Jun 2003 (UTC)
You're right, my interpretation of the WH-question was incorrect. The construct it is whom? doesn't sound so bad to me as whom is it?. I'd just like to note, though, that the phenomenon in the sentence it is he might not be true ergativity, but what I call nominative equivalence (I haven't been able to find out whether there's alinguistic term for the phenomenon). Many languages (including Ubykh, my linguistic speciality) place the subject and the direct object of copular verbs, particularly to be, in the same case (in English, the nominative; in Ubykh, the absolutive) in order to demonstrate that the two noun phrases are equivalent. The fact that Ubykh itself is an ergative language makes the point even more interesting. It may be possible that languages with equivalence-based copular constructions use their default case in those constructs. What is the basic case of English nouns? thefamouseccles 05:35 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)
In my experience, speakers of English more often use who to start a question, regardless of which of who/whom is "correct", and when they do use whom, it is somewhat forced. I am inclined to group the who/whom rule together with "don't end a sentence with a preposition" and "don't use split infinitives": a stodgy 19th century prescriptive rule of grammar that did not reflect how English was spoken when it was written, much less today. Most modern grammarians (that is, academics who study grammar within the field of linguistics, not authors of manuals of style) agree. Now this is not to say that whom has no use in modern English or that speakers and writers should not be aware of the distinction, and I'm glad to see you can justify your opinion, but I would hope you would have restraint not to impose your grammar except where necessary for clarity. CyborgTosser 16:09, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Of course not. Only when we're arguing about grammar. :) The fact is that people who use whom (like me) are in a very small minority, and it wouldn't surprise me if it dies out within a generation. I have no problem with that, and I wouldn't dream of pushing my way of speaking on another. That's beyond constructive criticism and into the realm of just plain rude. thefamouseccles 13:29, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)