On 23/08/2013 3:39 PM, John Briggs wrote:
> Nathan Sanders wrote:
>> Nathan Sanders <san...@alum.mit.edu
(Mark Brader) wrote:
>>>>> In the last couple of years I've been hearing (and seeing) versions of
>>>>> "...because [noun]" and wondering if it's just me.
>>>> I also have started coming across this in the last couple of years.
>>>> It strikes me as a natural development of the language, either a
>>>> prepositioning of the conjunction (you can verb anything, right?)
>>>> or a shortening of "because of". On the other hand, I wouldn't be
>>>> surprised if (1) it's an old usage that I never heard of, or
>>>> (2) it's a short-lived fad that dies out.
>>>> Randall Munroe, the author of the webcomic xkcd, has written several
>>>> xkcd strips based on his fiancee getting cancer. See for example
(with a "context" link at the top) and
>>>> That's context; now look at this strip:
>>>> and note the usage of "but" when they're playing Scrabble.
>>> I wouldn't be surprised if this construction appeared at some point in
>>> Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. It definitely has the feel of Joss
>>> Whedon's dialogue.
>>> In fact, the very second transcript I searched turned up a similar
>>> example (with an adjective rather than a noun):
>>> "WILLOW: I don't even get how we made that guy, because, wow,
>>> advanced!" ("Triangle", s05e11, January 2001)
>>> I searched a few more transcripts, but couldn't find any relevant
>> Unsurprisingly, Language Log has discussed this very phenomenon:
>> In the comments, there is an example from 1996 ("Because
>> circumstances. I was just lucky, really"), plus an example with an
>> intervening "hey" from Jack Handy's Deep Thoughts: "If you ever fall
>> off the Sears tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like
>> a dummy, and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy."
>> A commenter also provides examples from more than three centuries ago,
>> but as the commenter notes, "The modern constructions are almost
>> certainly reinventions rather than continuations of the older ones":
>> "Bitterness comes very near to Enmity, and that is Beelzebub; because
>> the Perfection of Wickedness." (because NP) – Some Fruits of Solitude,
>> "This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die,
>> yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present,
>> because immortal." (because ADJ) – More Fruits of Solitude, 1702
> I'd accept the last one (because ADJ) because "because" is just part of
> that adjectival phrase. "Except" could be used in the same way.
I think the one before it is the same, with a non-standard semicolon
where we would have a comma, and I suspect the 1996 "because
circumstances" was a slip.
The other examples don't seem just "quotative", as Nathan put it, but
exclamatory: "wow, advanced" and "hey, free dummy" emphasise this by
starting with an exclamation, and in Mark's xkcd example with "but" the
spelling ("caaancer") serves the same function; and I can see "because
bacon" being spoken as "because, bacon!"
It does make an interesting parallel to "I was all ...". The