This structure is often used recently (I think since mid-2012) in a sarcastic or humorous way, or to indicate that the reasoning is not sound.

a) “Ok, I really want to hang with her because FABULOUS.” (Twitter).

b) “Do you ever meet people who automatically inspire you to be a better person because wow” (Twitter).

I think it is grammaticalized because it's used in a new syntatic context, but is this enough to account for this process?

Edit: I know "fabulous" and "wow" are not nouns. The name of the structure, however, is named like this by linguistics since it follows a noun phrase.

  • 6
    "Fabulous" isn't a noun. – Azor Ahai -him- Oct 17 '16 at 3:23
  • 2
    Neither fabulous nor wow are nouns here. – Anixx Oct 17 '16 at 9:20
  • as @lemontree pointed out it probably does not count as grammaticalized. but it's fascinating nonetheless - would we be seeing this kind of stuff if we did not have twitter? maybe we need some new categories like ephemerally grammaticized? – mobileink Oct 18 '16 at 0:29
  • there's also the possibility of a split between verbal and written grammaticalization. – mobileink Oct 18 '16 at 0:30
  • @mobileink Humoristically, I would say it in speech too, so I wouldn't say it's restricted to twitter or the internet in genereal, but phenomena like this sure do spread and/or arise way faster thanks to the internet. – lemontree Oct 18 '16 at 7:58

It would be a good example of an instance of grammaticalisation if it was perceived as a regular construction to say in English, but I would claim it isn't: The construction because + NOUN (or because + ADJECTIVE / because + INTERJECTION, in your example) is very, very marked, so I would say its use is too restricted to judge it as grammaticalised (yet).
Otherwise, i.e. if it was a grammaticalised and meanwhile "normal" construction in English, it wouldn't be possible to use "in a sarcatsic or humorous way": The expression sounding wrong is the very reason for it to be funny.
A similar example would be something like Suddenly potatoes. I think it is incorrect to claim that this is a grammaticalised, thus umarked and "normal" expression in everyday English.

  • So can I say the structure is on its way to be grammaticalized and it's still not so because of its limited frequency? – Matt Oct 16 '16 at 18:24
  • 1
    In order to find this out, you would need grammaticality judgements from native speakers a) before the alleged grammaticalisation took place (i.e. when it was considered clearly ungrammatical) and b) when/after it presumably took place (i.e. when you assume it is being or after it was grammaticalised). Not every construction that is now and then intentionally used in an ungrammatical way to create humoristic effects is guaranteed to undergo a grammaticalisation process - most of them, I'd say, stay ungrammatical. – lemontree Oct 16 '16 at 18:56

This isn't grammaticalization, because grammaticalization is a process whereby a lexical word becomes a grammatical marker, a.k.a. a functional word (or morpheme). For example, the English future auxiliary will is a result of grammaticalization as it derives from the verb will meaning "want". In this case, because is already a conjunction, so is already "grammatical"; what's changing is that it's starting to allow a new type of complement (arguably extending to be a preposition), but that has nothing to do with grammaticalization.

  • But grammaticalization also involves a grammatical item that becomes [+grammatical], right? – Matt Oct 20 '16 at 0:13
  • 2
    @MattAddison, that's a rather theory-specific way of putting it, but however you might define that feature, I don't see how the new use of because makes it [+grammatical] if it wasn't already. – TKR Oct 20 '16 at 2:50

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