[lit-ideas] Re: Because Implicature

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 11 Jan 2014 13:06:32 -0500 (EST)

In a message dated 1/8/2014 3:53:40 P.M. Eastern  Standard Time, 
gearyservice@xxxxxxxxx writes:
"Because" used as a  preposition.
Old hat where I come from.  Why do I say that?   Because.  Because why?  
Because because.  But because because  why?  Because I do, damnit!  Now shut 
the fuck up and get on about you  business.  Language is whatever the hell 
gets the thought across.  A  fart as a physiological phenomenon can be used as 
a word if it successfully  conveys one's meaning within a communication 
context -- whatever that  means.  That's the end all and be all of language.  
So sayeth I and  sayeth rightly so and justly because.

There is an appendix to the item in today's World Wide Words.
World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion 2014.
Quinion writes:
"The choice of "because X" as the Word of the Year by the American Dialect  
Society has led to much confused comment."
"As an example of the grammatical difficulties accompanying this word, as  
much in its conventional usages as the new one, see Professor Geoffrey Pullum
’s  mind-stretching discussion on Language Log."
"Pullum says that dictionaries wrongly call "because" a conjunction  “
because they are all lazy followers of a stupid tradition that has needed  
rethinking for 200 years.”"
"Pullum argues that the word is a preposition."
"You may find it hard work following him, but the destination is worth the  
"If you would like a different view, pop over to Gretchen McCulloch’s blog  
All Things Linguistic, in which she argues the opposite view, that because 
in  the new construction isn’t a preposition."
Grice discusses
p because of p.
p; therefore, p.
In general, it is related to reasons:
"The reason why the bridge collapsed was that it was made of cellophane."  
(His example in Aspects of Reason).
"Because" is of course a Latinism.
The proper Anglo-Saxon (almost expletive?) is 'for':
"I did it for I did it".
"I went to bed for I was tired."
And so on.
I don't think Strawson discusses "because" in "Introduction to Logical  
Theory". He SHOULD. In that case, Grice would have criticised him. There are  
various possibilities for the formalisation of 'because' in logical theory, 
or  for the 'logical form' (to use an idiom favourite with Witters) of 
"because"  utterances.
And as a corollary, this may lead to the logical form of this alleged new  
usage (not to Geary) of 'because' that Quinion is referring to.
Or not.

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