Me and Mary went to the mall.
My prediction is that sentences using the grammar of ”Me and Mary went to the mall” will some day be considered the standard. The meaning of this sentence is clear, though some other permutations still would sound very strange, such as “Me is/am hungry.”
Discussion of this form, which is commonly used in everyday speech by many of my students, can illustrate the usefulness of a standard language and the inevitability of language change. In class, I explain that Standard English requires “Mary and I” as the subject. The vernacular is changing, but the standard is not, and academic and formal work must be written in Standard English.
My students’ children may declare this form the standard, long after I have gone to my grammatically correct reward. Though each generation assumes they have reached the peak of perfection, there have been seismic grammatical shifts in English over the centuries. It is hard to admit how arbitrary language is.
Parents and teachers from Shakespeare’s day would be appalled to hear what we are doing to their beloved language today. It’s just as well we won’t be around in four hundred years to find out what happened.
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