Syntactic blends

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Syntactic blends

Post by Porphyrogenitos » 23 Aug 2016 18:13

In Historical Linguistics: An Introduction Lyle Campbell says:
There are also syntactic blends. Neogrammarians presented many examples (for example, Paul 1920: 165). Some are:
(1) I’m friends with him, from a contamination based on I’m a friend with him and we are friends (Paul 1920: 150).
Ever since I read about this phenomenon of syntactic blends, I’ve strongly suspected that the construction just because X, doesn’t mean Y - which never seemed to make sense to me from a grammatical standpoint, even though its meaning is perfectly clear - is a blend of just because X, Y [+verbal negation] and the fact that X doesn’t mean Y.

E.g. people took the phrases “Just because she has money, you shouldn’t [necessarily] marry her” and “The [mere] fact that she has money doesn’t mean you should marry her” and mashed them together into “Just because she has money, doesn’t mean you should marry her.”

Can anyone else think of any examples of syntactic blends, either in English or in other languages? Do you make use of them in your conlangs?

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Re: Syntactic blends

Post by CMunk » 23 Aug 2016 20:06

A Danish candidate for a syntactic blend is the phrase både x, men også y both x, but also y. It is thought to be a blend of både x og y both x and y and ikke kun x, men også y not only x, but also y. The new construction seems to be a softer version of the latter sentence.
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Re: Syntactic blends

Post by Dormouse559 » 24 Aug 2016 01:24

This seems like a useful concept. An example in French might be pour ne pas que … "so that … not / lest …". It appears to be a combination of pour que … "so that …" and pour ne pas [infinitive] "so as not to [do something]". Here's a set of example sentences:

Je parle fort pour que tu entendes ce que je dis.
I am speaking loudly so that you hear what I'm saying.

Il se bouche les oreilles pour ne pas entendre ce que je dis.
He is covering his ears so as not to hear what I'm saying.

Je parle bas pour ne pas que tu entendes ce que je dis.
I am speaking quietly so that you don't hear / lest you hear what I'm saying.

NB: Pour ne pas que is common in speech, but prescriptive sources advise against it and prefer pour que … ne … pas. So the formally correct version of the last sentence would be "Je parle bas pour que tu n'entendes pas ce que je dis".

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