Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Nov 2013 23:26 UTC
Internet & Networking

The word "because," in standard English usage, is a subordinating conjunction, which means that it connects two parts of a sentence in which one (the subordinate) explains the other. In that capacity, "because" has two distinct forms. It can be followed either by a finite clause (I'm reading this because [I saw it on the web]) or by a prepositional phrase (I'm reading this because [of the web]). These two forms are, traditionally, the only ones to which "because" lends itself.

I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. Because there is another way to use "because." Linguists are calling it the "prepositional-because." Or the "because-noun."

I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. This is language changing before our very eyes - and thanks to the internet, it happens out in the open, in an easy documentable way, and at an incredibly fast pace.

Technology leaves nothing untouched.

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leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

What the Internet has done is cause people to show how lazy the human race really is. I remember the horrors of when I first started in chat boards on the internet (seems to me old chat Bulletin Board Systems weren't that bad) where just about everyone would type with 'r u ;) '.

At one point in my life I was rather well versed in typing and talking correctly. It's pretty much all gone to crap with people using acronyms in real speech, where before people would generally only use them for spy agencies and computer peripherals. When I first heard someone verbally say "Oh Em Gee!" I about flipped my lid.

This particular change isn't bad, and you kind of have to put in a nice pause and a shrug when you're saying it physically, it just doesn't quite look right when it's written or typed out. Well, because Internet.

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You use contractions in writing. You are just as lazy.

That's how people like you viewed contractions only a few short years ago. Times change. Language changes. It's not laziness - it's language!

Edited 2013-11-20 00:23 UTC

Reply Score: 6

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

You use contractions in writing. You are just as lazy.


Ironically, due to the rise of keyboard typos, people use contractions that make certain words longer.

Like it's or you're when you meant its or your.

Reply Score: 3

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Ironically, due to the rise of keyboard typos, people use contractions that make certain words longer.

Like it's or you're when you meant its or your.

That is not a typo. That is just not understanding the English language. A lot of foreigners understand the language better.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

As an Expat from the uk, I have noticed that non-uk English speakers tend to have pretty good written English, but their spoken English is crap.

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

As an Expat from the uk, I have noticed that non-uk English speakers tend to have pretty good written English, but their spoken English is crap.


Kind of fun, since even Americans assume that I'm American when they hear me speak English. I sound like a Californian rich white college chick at times.

Reply Score: 3

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

You sound Dutch to me, having heard you both as a recording and over Skype. You have a very stereotypical Dutch way of pronouncing certain consonants.

Reply Score: 3

fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

Gag me with a spoon!

Reply Score: 2

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

As an Expat from the uk, I have noticed that non-uk English speakers tend to have pretty good written English, but their spoken English is crap.

As it is for everything you rarely do.

Reply Score: 3

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

I work in Gibraltar, in order to work in most companies you have to have a good grasp of English.

Reply Score: 2

blitze Member since:
2006-09-15

Except for Russian Airports where you will hear the finest examples of the Queens English. Aeroflot also. I was quite taken aback by how well their announcements were spoken and how easy to listen to they were. ;)

Reply Score: 3

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"Ironically, due to the rise of keyboard typos, people use contractions that make certain words longer.

Like it's or you're when you meant its or your.

That is not a typo. That is just not understanding the English language. A lot of foreigners understand the language better.
"

No, it is a typo. It's a naturally conditioned response, whether typing or writing to put a comma for anything that is homophonic with another possessive.

I perfectly understand when to use its and it's, your and you're, but I sometimes do switch them because my little finger does involuntarily reach for the apostrophe.

Reply Score: 3

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

I find the reverse. There are far more "Your not right"s than "you're mistakes are silly"s. True that Its and It's are confused, but a lot of that is down to the the OS autocorrect. For me, iOS errs on the side of contraction (so it's rather than its, but i'll instead of ill), but Android prefers its over it's out of the box - at least Google vanilla Android does (Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 act the same.)

Reply Score: 3

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Much of my post was rather tongue-in-cheek. I do not have very many issues with this particular nuance. But the shortening of the language to the point where you have to translate it...

Besides, only androids do not use contractions.

Reply Score: 4

sagum Member since:
2006-01-23

I have been online since the early '90s and I have to say that the use of 'ur' and 'wat', and even 'y' only really became popular after SMS use with mobile where people were forced to use short text due to the limitation both the keyboard input (pre T9 predictive texting) and probably most important, the cost of SMS texts vs the character limitation. For a lot of mobile phones, the text messages were singular too. There was no automatic expansion of multiple texts.

The only other places where I saw bad English was in the 'hacker' community, where it was more common to use l33t speek.


Still, being dyslexic myself I really enjoyed the internet and it's helped me a lot. More so then school ever could. I could only just about read and spell words as simple as Cat and Dog.

It my have been my dyslexic ability that gave me more of an insight to when languages were changing as I found it really hard when people started to use shortened texts. For example, there is a huge difference between you're, and your. For me, when someone simply types 'ur', it is a big struggle for my brain to understand.
The worst offender is 'y'. I ask a question, and people reply y. and I read it as 'why', every, single, time.

It's not too bad now since most people use a smart phone with a full keyboard layout and they have predictive words built in. It is actually harder for people to use the short 'ur' type words then it is to write out them in full. People sill manage to do it though :o

My girlfriend actually, got so used to reading and writing in this SMS type language that she was berated by her English teacher when doing homework for her exams...


Even though reading and writing for me is a struggle most days, I really do enjoy it. I'll never be able to get a degree in English, but I understand the frustration behind not being able to read what others put so I do try my hardest.

I've even gone as far as to learn some other languages. I can read some French and Italian to get the basic gist of it and I recently started to learn Russian. I face the same problem in those languages too, with people creating spelling errors or using slang language that doesn't directly translate in my head, but for me it's just how it is in English anyway.

I understand language changes. Living in England, I can travel less then 10 miles and the accent and language used will be vastly different. My girlfriend is from Yorkshire, I'm from Staffordshire, and if she goes outside my home town, she finds it a struggle to understand people.. and some of the words used to describe things, 'snapping' for instance, is common Yorkshire term for a packaged lunch taken to work or school.

It's really fun to learn language, but I can understand why some people dislike when the language is 'abused' by people using things like 'ur'. It's usage itself creates a lot of confusion over events and often simply results in people either being confused when they've assumed it meant one thing and the author meant something else, or they have to explain themselves anyway and thus having to write more then they had to if they have used You're or you are instead in the first instance.

Reply Score: 5

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I'm not so sure it is just laziness, there are far more people 'on the Internet' for which English is not their first language.

And Thom you should know that. :-)

Reply Score: 3

unthouched
by xnoreq on Wed 20th Nov 2013 00:28 UTC
xnoreq
Member since:
2009-01-06

unthouched

... epic fail!

Reply Score: 3

RE: unthouched
by acobar on Wed 20th Nov 2013 00:52 UTC in reply to "unthouched"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

unthouched

... epic fail!


Hum, perhaps, epic failure?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: unthouched
by nej_simon on Wed 20th Nov 2013 07:13 UTC in reply to "RE: unthouched"
nej_simon Member since:
2011-02-11

Because no.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: unthouched
by henderson101 on Wed 20th Nov 2013 14:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: unthouched"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Because no it isn't.


Omitted text restored.

Reply Score: 2

shadow
Member since:
2007-02-14

I'm almost 25 and practically everyone except English teachers have never followed this rule in Spoken English. I don't think it's the internet, but rather like the word "Ain't", it's just got a bunch of English teachers that still think they have the power to dictate a rule no one follows.

Reply Score: 3

Just sound like they dropped "of"
by SmallPotato on Wed 20th Nov 2013 02:25 UTC
SmallPotato
Member since:
2006-01-16

I learnt the use of "because of (a noun)" as a kind of English grammar in the past. Now people say "because noun". To me, it sounds like the word "of" is simply dropped, because trend? In fact it just doesn't sound right to me, and I am not even English-native.

Reply Score: 5

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I learnt the use of "because of (a noun)" as a kind of English grammar in the past. Now people say "because noun". To me, it sounds like the word "of" is simply dropped, because trend? In fact it just doesn't sound right to me, and I am not even English-native.


It really depends on how you use it. For example, 'I'm going to drop the word of in this case, because f--k you' ;)

Reply Score: 5

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Ha ha, that's where I've mostly heard it, with the exception of some very recent post on amiga.org when discussing 'They are trying to Kill the PC!' someone had made the comment about tablet and smart phone proponents saying it for no other reason than... 'cause.

But mostly I've always heard it as the aforementioned 'because f-ck you, that's why!'. And so it really does have that tone of 'why don't you go play hide and f-ck yourself!'

Reply Score: 3

olafg Member since:
2010-05-27

Not a good example. "f--k you' is not a noun. This is merely lack of proper spelling:

I'm going to drop the word of in this case, because... F--k you.

Reply Score: 2

Hmm...
by thebackwash on Wed 20th Nov 2013 04:01 UTC
thebackwash
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm pretty sure that this usage is intentionally childish-sounding, and not spontaneous or without intentional effect.

I don't know how else to say this, but it seems like something that is said mostly as a post on forum threads that quickly turn into a stupidity circle jerk.

Reply Score: 6

Funny
by galvanash on Wed 20th Nov 2013 04:49 UTC
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

Why does Thom post stuff like this? Why are kids becoming incapable of formal communication? Why am I really bored right now? Why do I still have a job...?

Because Internet ;)

Edited 2013-11-20 04:50 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Just because
by Luis on Wed 20th Nov 2013 07:37 UTC
Luis
Member since:
2006-04-28

I have a friend who doesn't speak English fluently and when he had to stay abroad and was forced to communicate in it, he managed to invent another use of the word because. Basically to avoid having to give longer explanations that were difficult for him due to his language deficiencies (and due to there not being a clear answer anyway):

"So why did it stop working?"

"Hhhmm... Because."

Because it did. Because of whatever reason that I don't know and don't care to find out. Because shit happens... Just because.

Now that I'm abroad myself, I also use it that way in some situations. And I kind of like it. Why? Because.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Just because
by rft183 on Wed 20th Nov 2013 15:02 UTC in reply to "Just because"
rft183 Member since:
2005-08-11

That is how my three-year-old answers almost every question I ask him. If my five-year-old hears him, he says "'Because' isn't an answer! Isn't that right, Daddy?" I've convinced one of them, at least!

Reply Score: 2

Because English
by siraf72 on Wed 20th Nov 2013 10:35 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

As someone who speaks three languages and sees them evolve, I do find this interesting.

To paraphrase someone who's name escapes me right now: The English are a bastard of a people with a bastard of a language.

This of course refers to the ethnicity of the English and the mishmash of other languages that is the English language, and not any inherent personality traits. English:

1 - Easy
2 - Fairly unstructured
3 - Continuously evolving since day 1
4 - the most widely spoken language in the world
5 - has the largest vocabulary.

Now add to that the fact that the internet- being the great leveller that it is, allows funny morons and the illiterate to have a disproportionate impact on society (yes I’m being a snob). The net result (no pun intended) is a faster evolution than might otherwise happen.

Again, this has a lot to do with the inherent traits of the language and less with the internet. English has changed drastically in the last thousand years. Arabic for example, has changed little in the last two thousand.

---EDIT - fixing the obligatory typos and numbering. As we all know, any post relating to language automatically generates an above average number of typos.

Edited 2013-11-20 10:44 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Froyton
by Froyton on Wed 20th Nov 2013 13:20 UTC
Froyton
Member since:
2013-08-29

I would much prefer for this phenomenon to be limited to the silly realm of the Internet (where I actually find it amusing) and not be made official. I suppose it is not a huge issue, though - it's not like I'll be forced to use it.

There is far worse butchering done to English than this. Mine as well. Manner of fact. For all intensive purposes. I would settle for the prepositional "because" over those any day.

Reply Score: 2

original blogsâ¦
by olafg on Wed 20th Nov 2013 16:23 UTC
olafg
Member since:
2010-05-27

I think osnews should refer to the original source when reporting.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4068

http://linguistlaura.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/because-reasons.html

And is quite obvious that this is not a new usage of "because", but simply lazy contractions/omissions as an idiom in informal writing where you easily deduce the omissions (albeit in an adhoc manner).

On the other hand, it might stick. Other languages have shortforms for "because of" etc because they occur frequently in formal writing.

Edited 2013-11-20 16:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

because âof'
by theosib on Wed 20th Nov 2013 19:00 UTC
theosib
Member since:
2006-03-02

Other commenters on the original article have reflected my own thoughts on the matter: This is just people dropping ‘of’ from ‘because of’. In that context, ‘because’ is not a new preposition; rather, a contraction has occurred.

That being said, if this trend continues (and I don’t see why not), then children will generalize it to fit all of the attributes of a preposition, and it will be correct to analyze it that way,

Reply Score: 2

And this is a good thing?
by Kalessin on Wed 20th Nov 2013 19:43 UTC
Kalessin
Member since:
2007-01-18

So, you're excited because people are too lazy to use English correctly? Sure, languages evolve over time - especially when it comes to adding words for new things and new concepts - but it's not exactly a good thing when they devolve thanks to people who can't be bothered to use them correctly.

Reply Score: 2

because fail.
by roblearns on Wed 20th Nov 2013 21:28 UTC
roblearns
Member since:
2010-09-13

"I mention all that ... because language. Because evolution. "

I love watching language evolve too, but I have to tell you, I needed you to explicitly explain that one to me, because 1, I've never heard it before, and because 2, it made no sense to me.

Now I need to get back to watching the eons pass, watching stars form and then eventually burn out - and other things us people that watch languages evolve also do.

No I'm not trying to make a point - maybe I think that languages evolve over a long period of time, and what we are observing is simply a change.

But then again, I'd use the word evolve, so maybe I'm typing like an angry keyboard warrior - because that's what we do on the internet.

Yeah, thats it.

Edited 2013-11-20 21:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

How is this a good thing?
by abraxas on Thu 21st Nov 2013 00:39 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

The English language is devolving before our eyes. I have no issue with people conversing in colloquialisms but to change the actual definitions of words so freely is just embracing stupidity. Sure, some of these changes are going to become long-term regardless but some of them would have probably faded out of existence like a lot of other slang in the past. Instead we just normalize poor grammar and spelling instead of correcting it.

Reply Score: 2

No
by FreeGamer on Thu 21st Nov 2013 12:09 UTC
FreeGamer
Member since:
2007-04-13

Just no.

Reply Score: 2

Defending the evolving language
by chithanh on Thu 21st Nov 2013 20:40 UTC
chithanh
Member since:
2006-06-18

It is very exciting to see a language develop such new aspects.

Fortunately for English, there is no central authority which tries to entomb the language and prevent it from catering to its speakers' needs. French and German are such examples, and those who are set on "preserving" these languages still wonder why English is increasingly used in popular culture. They try to use the force of law against this, not understanding that their beloved language will go extinct if it cannot adapt.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Defending the evolving language
by Ikshaar on Fri 22nd Nov 2013 14:20 UTC in reply to "Defending the evolving language"
Ikshaar Member since:
2005-07-14

Fortunately for English, there is no central authority which tries to entomb the language and prevent it from catering to its speakers' needs. French and German are such examples, and those who are set on "preserving" these languages still wonder why English is increasingly used in popular culture. They try to use the force of law against this, not understanding that their beloved language will go extinct if it cannot adapt.


Put your tin foil back on please. The French Academy which I assume you are referring to, is not an omniscient controlling body. Nor does it pretend to be. It never stopped me or anyone else to say or use any word I want. It only tries to maintain a standard of what French language is. And contrary to your assumption, it is constantly adding and removing words as the language itself evolves.

Reply Score: 3

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

I am not sure about grammar (which is the topic of the article), but about vocabulary: The French Academy is trying to halt the influx of English terms in their language, inventing vaguely French-sounding alternatives and claiming that those are better.

Sometimes this is successful (informatique vs. computer science), sometimes the result is cute (courriel vs. email) but usually it is downright laughable (wi-fi, podcasting, phishing, etc. I'll let you look them up yourself.)

Reply Score: 2