If "me, too" isn't agreeing with something, what is it doing?

Akakemushi

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Hi, odd question here. Doing some research and discourse analysis (coding different types of speech acts), and came across this tricky bit of semantics that I could use help and/or varied opinions about.

So when someone gives an opinion such as "I love the summer!" you might say "me, too!" or "D&D is so much fun!" "Yeah, I like it, too!" and this is all fine and dandy because you're agreeing with an opinion. We could replace both of those responses with "I agree!" and it would make perfect sense semantically. However something changes when an opinion is not at the center of the discourse. Take a simple fact for example:

"I'm a doctor." "Me, too."

In this case, switching the response to "I agree." Does not have the same meaning.

"I'm a doctor." "I agree."

It's weird, right? Responding with "I agree" in such a case would imply that you also think that person A is a doctor, and it speaks nothing of what you yourself are. So if the function of "Me, too" is not "agreeing" in this case, what IS it's function? What would you call this? Conforming? Concurring? Cohering? What word (verb preferably) expresses the action of "expressing that your condition/status is the same as another's". Does such a word even exist? Or do we have no other way to express this than, "So am I," or "I am also a doctor."

At the end of the day, I'm looking for a word to use to code such utterances in my data. Any and all thoughts/opinions are welcome, especially if you have any experience coding speech acts!
 

5jj

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when someone gives an opinion such as "I love the summer!" you might say "me, too!" or "D&D is so much fun!" "Yeah, I like it, too!" and this is all fine and dandy because you're agreeing with an opinion. We could replace both of those responses with "I agree!
You could not replace the first 'me too' with 'I agree'.
 

Akakemushi

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You could not replace the first 'me too' with 'I agree'.
That's true, now that you mention it, "summer is wonderful!" would have been a better example, but regardless it digresses from what I want to know. Do you have any comment about that?
 

jutfrank

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So when someone gives an opinion such as "I love the summer!" you might say "me, too!" or "D&D is so much fun!" "Yeah, I like it, too!" and this is all fine and dandy because you're agreeing with an opinion.

The utterance I love the summer! doesn't express an opinion—it's a declaration. Similarly, saying Me too! is not agreeing with an opinion. I'd call it echoing—meaning in this case that the second person is making the same declaration.

We could replace both of those responses with "I agree!"

No, we can't. You can agree with an opinion, but not with an utterance that is not an opinion. The utterance D&D is so much fun! is an opinion, so an interlocutor could respond with I agree, but I love the summer! is not an opinion.

However something changes when an opinion is not at the center of the discourse. Take a simple fact for example:

"I'm a doctor." "Me, too."

In this case, switching the response to "I agree." Does not have the same meaning.

That's right. As you know, it would be absurd to respond to I'm a doctor with I agree. This is because I'm a doctor is (almost certainly) not meant as an opinion.

It's weird, right?

No. (😀)


Responding with "I agree" in such a case would imply that you also think that person A is a doctor, and it speaks nothing of what you yourself are. So if the function of "Me, too" is not "agreeing" in this case, what IS it's function? What would you call this? Conforming? Concurring? Cohering? What word (verb preferably) expresses the action of "expressing that your condition/status is the same as another's". Does such a word even exist?

I call it echoing. There are different kinds of echoing in terms of illocutionary force, but your doctor example is an echo of a declarative utterance.

A: I'm a doctor. [declarative]
B: So am I. [declarative]

The above response features complement substitution (with so). It's basically another way simply to echo the utterance. Here's another example, this time including an opinion:

A: He's a horrible human being. [statement of opinion]
B: Yes, he is. [agreement]

The response here is also an echo, featuring complement ellipsis (of a horrible human being), but this time is also an expression of agreement with an opinion.
 
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Akakemushi

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The utterance I love the summer! doesn't express an opinion—it's a declaration. Similarly, saying Me too! is not agreeing with an opinion. I'd call it echoing—meaning in this case that the second person is making the same declaration.



No, we can't. You can agree with an opinion, but not with an utterance that is not an opinion. The utterance D&D is so much fun! is an opinion, so an interlocutor could respond with I agree, but I love the summer! is not an opinion.



That's right. As you know, it would be absurd to respond to I'm a doctor with I agree. This is because I'm a doctor is (almost certainly) not meant as an opinion.



No. (😀)




I call it echoing. There are different kinds of echoing in terms of illocutionary force, but your doctor example is an echo of a declarative utterance.

A: I'm a doctor. [declarative]
B: So am I. [declarative]

The above response features complement substitution (with so). It's basically another way simply to echo the utterance. Here's another example, this time including an opinion:

A: He's a horrible human being. [statement of opinion]
B: Yes, he is. [agreement]

The response here is also an echo, featuring complement ellipsis (of a horrible human being), but this time is also an expression of agreement with an opinion.
“Echoing” is just the term I was looking for, thanks so much! (Also, yes, in hindsight I noticed that the sentence “I love summer“ was not an opinion and was a bad example. 5jj pointed that out to me as well. I was in a rush when I wrote the post.)
 
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