(Non-)Ellipses in Dutch, English, and German: The case of because X
Kristin Stöcker & Martin Konvička (Freie Universität Berlin)
In this paper, we offer an analysis of the because X construction (1) as non-elliptical structures. Beside English (1a), Dutch (1b), and German (1c), similar constructions exist in a number of other languages as well.
(1) (a) Who else does their makeup just to sit around in their room because ME.
(b) Ich hab Bauchweh weil lachen
(c) Links is opvallend stil, eigenlijk vinden ze het geen discriminatie, want Jood. (van Oostendorp 2014)
Furthermore, there are also constructions (2), albeit formally similar and diachronically related to because X, that are ellipses because they can be reconstructed to a non-elliptical state.
(2) (a) een dure want goede boek/ Het boek is duur want [het is] goed.
(b) ein teures, weil gutes Buch/ Das Buch ist teuer, weil [es] gut [ist].
In our paper, we want to address the question of where and how to draw the line between because X (1) and the elliptical, formally similar constructions of the type (2). Focusing on the structural differences between ellipses and non-ellipses (cf. Van Craenenbroeck & Temmerman 2019: 8), we argue against analysing because X in Dutch, English, and German as elliptical. Our main arguments are threefold.
Firstly, if we expect elliptical structures to be easily reconstructed to their original non-elliptical state, occurrences of because X and its Dutch and German equivalents do not follow this rule as reconstruction appears to be either implausible or impossible in many cases, as examples in (1) demonstrate. Secondly, traditionally because occurs followed by a clause containing a finite verb. In the because X construction, however, verbs are in general very rare and if they occur, they tend to occur as participles or infinitives. Finally, the German because X construction behaves unexpectedly in terms of case assignment. As shown by Stefanowitsch (2014), noun phrases appear in the nominative case instead of the expected accusative, dative or even genitive.
Oostendorp, Marc van (2014): Want boos/verdrietig bekaf. neerlandistiek.nl/2014/01/want-boosverdrietigbekaf/ [14 Jan 2019]
Stefanowitsch, Anatol (2014): Weil ist faszinierend, weil Sprachwandel. sprachlog.de/2014/01/10/weil-ist-faszinierend-weil-sprachwandel/ [14 Jan 2019]
Van Craenenbroeck, Jeroen & Tanja Temmerman (2019) The Oxford Handbook of Ellipsis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.