A record by Norfolk’s own Golden Gate Quartet (recorded about 1938) begins with a parody of a service in a black church, in which the pastor intones, “Us is here becaze us is here!”
An aunt of mine, when she was a girl in South Carolina in the 1930s, heard a white boy (who apparently had been “corrected”) say, “Us gon’ say ‘we’.”
Well, it seems whoever told that South Carolina boy he was wrong has won, and more than won, because now we get sentences like this:
‘In this respect, Neanderthal breathing was almost twice as effective as it is in we modern humans,’ said the team’s leader, University of New England zoologist Professor Stephen Wroe.
Evidently, somebody has persuaded Prof. Wroe (or maybe his parents, or an early teacher) that it’s always wrong to say “us” before a reference to a group (“us modern humans”, “us Americans”, etc.), even when the first-person plural pronoun is the object of a preposition such as in. (I still have trouble with using human as a noun, rather than an adjective, but I’m trying to reconcile myself to it.)
Everybody (well, obviously not everybody, but everybody who might read this blog) knows about the related problem of case when people combine the first-person singular pronoun with another person’s name, e.g., “This is very important to Hillary and I.” Kids who said “Me and John are going to the store,” were scolded and told to say, “John and I”. Lots of people seem to have gotten the idea that it was always wrong to say “me” in combination with another person’s name. (Cf. Robert Lawson’s two books, Ben and Me and Mr. Revere and I. The former is ostensibly narrated by a mouse, who is folksy and unpretentious, while the latter is written in the voice of Paul Revere’s horse, who is supposedly patrician and “correct” in his speech.)
I imagine the present error arises from a similar schoolmarmish hypercorrection.