• (Non-)Ellipses in Dutch, English, and German: The case of because X

    Martin Konvička (see profile) , Kristin Stöcker
    Comparative linguistics, Germanic languages, Linguistics
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Germanic Sandwich
    Conf. Loc.:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Conf. Date:
    23-24 May 2019
    Permanent URL:
    In this paper, we offer an analysis of the ​because ​X construction as non-elliptical structures. Beside English, Dutch, and German, similar constructions exist in a number of other languages as well. Furthermore, there are also constructions, albeit formally similar and diachronically related to ​because ​X, that are ellipses because they can be reconstructed to a non-elliptical state. In our paper, we want to address the question of where and how to draw the line between ​because X​ and the elliptical, formally similar constructions of the type. Focusing on the structural differences between ellipses and non-ellipses, 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. 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. Noun phrases appear in the nominative case instead of the expected accusative, dative or even genitive.
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