standard -self pronouns

Subject: standard -self pronouns
From: Ronald Lee Stone <ston0030 -at- GOLD -dot- TC -dot- UMN -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 01:25:27 -0500

Incidentally, -self pronouns may be used non-intensively or
non-reflexively, especially as objects of prepositions. (Also,
grammar is a legit issue in tech comm.)

The Little Brown handbook states that -self pronouns are often
used colloquially in this manner, and also that these uses should
be avoided formally (but not that they must).

There are uses however, where a -self pronoun as object of
preposition sounds standard, and the non-self pronoun sounds
colloquial. And so it seems that there must be some acceptable
uses of -self pronouns that are neither reflexive nor intensive.
Little Brown mentions colloquial uses, however when the standard
sounds colloquial (and vice versa!!!) I think that there is another
applicable standard rule. Also, I can think of no situation where
this would significantly affect meaning.

What is the basis for the reflexiveness or intensiveness of -self
pronouns? (So far, it seems that a certain class of reflexive and
intensive uses substantiates this basis.) Is it stylistic? It does
not seem to be functional across all of the situations of its use.
There may exist, however, some momentous socio-linguistic
implications here (yet perhaps not, especially in technical writing.)

But perhaps the pedagogical implications are most at issue. We would
hope to teach standard writing for situations that call for standard
language, not colloquial writing for the tasks of standard usage.



Ronald L. Stone : ston0030 -at- gold -dot- tc -dot- umn -dot- edu : (612) 644-9706
listowner RADIO-L : disc. of Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB)

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