Actually, the order of the co-agents in that sentence was quite deliberate.
Though "I" is supposed to follow other subjects in normal discourse out of
politeness, in this specific situation the co-workers do not yet exist (have
not yet been identified) so, semantically it would be quite odd to speak for
non-existent people and defer to their sensitivities. Note the use of the
subjunctive "would" - meaning - if those co-workers someday materialize. (01)
You get nuance like that depending on the intended meaning. Sometimes I
refer to a company as "it", sometimes as "they" depending on whether I am
thinking more of an abstract entity or of the people who speak for it. (02)
And of course, in other languages different customs apply. In English "I"
is capitalized, and "you" is lower-case. In Russian, it is the reverse for
the Cyrillic equivalents. (03)
It's hard enough for people to detect such nuances in ordinary discourse,
but fortunately the task of semantic integration of databases and most
information extraction does not require the inference of subtle attitude
To get to the point where the machines have a shot at detecting nuance, I
think it is well to try to get the more objective information encoded well.
That should form a good base camp from which we can try to scale the
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ed Barkmeyer
> Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 1:02 PM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] The costs and benefits of research (and
> the grammar)
> Chris Menzel wrote:
> > Completely off topic, but...
> > On Jun 2, 2009, at 9:56 AM, Patrick Cassidy wrote:
> >> ...I and my coworkers would very much appreciate the gesture.
> > Interacting with college kids as much as I do, this sentence now
> > almost sounds ungrammatical to me! :-)
> Now, there we have a second difference in the later generation. I
> remember being taught that "I and my coworkers" sounds wrong because it
> is _impolite_! "In polite discourse" [meaning from about 1780 to 1960],
> "my coworkers and I would appreciate..." is proper, because one always
> puts oneself last. Having departed from that polity, it seems quite
> reasonable to see "me and my coworkers would appreciate ..." as the de
> facto grammar of the 21st century American language.
> "There even are places where English completely disappears
> In America, they haven't used it for years."
> -- Alan Jay Lerner, "Why Can't the English", from "My Fair Lady"
> Edward J. Barkmeyer Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
> National Institute of Standards & Technology
> Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
> 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263 Tel: +1 301-975-3528
> Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263 FAX: +1 301-975-4694
> "The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
> and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."
> Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
> Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
> Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
> Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
> To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
> To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (09)