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Just because it's new doesn't mean people will notice it

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2007

Abstract

LANGUAGE changes all the time. Speakers produce innovations that are novel at first, but become conventionalized as they are used more and more. Some get a fair amount of press. The rise of ‘singular they’ (Has everyone got their handout?) has provoked a heated debate about proper usage (cf. Balhorn 2004). However, not all innovations have such a polarizing effect, as some enter the language below the radar of prescriptivism. As a case in point, the construction just because…doesn't mean… (as in the title of this article) is a fairly recent expression that has developed its own syntactic and semantic properties, but is not perceived as particularly deviant. This article discusses the idiosyncratic properties of this construction, draws a brief sketch of its history, and offers some thoughts on why it could establish itself without attracting much notice.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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Just because it's new doesn't mean people will notice it
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