It’s great to come across language columns in newspapers like The Economist and, more recently, the New York Times. It is even greater if they deal with aspects of prescriptivism, and linguists’ as well as the general public’s reactions to them. Last week, John McWhorter wrote about pronoun usage in a piece called You and Me Need to Talk, citing the first (British) English usage guide that deals with the issue, The Vulgarities of Speech Corrected (1826). (The first American usage guide to treat this usage item would be Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence, published thirty years later.)
As a linguist, McWhorter argues, he has no problems with sentences like the one in the title of his piece. What do you think? I’d be interested to know.