LINGUIST List 6.1043

Thu Aug 3 1995

Qs: Power Translator, 'because' vs 'since/as'

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  1. , Query: 'Power Translator' software
  2. , Query: 'because' versus 'since/as'

Message 1: Query: 'Power Translator' software

Date: Thu, 03 Aug 1995 15:44:00 Query: 'Power Translator' software
From: <LING003cantva.canterbury.ac.nz>
Subject: Query: 'Power Translator' software

I am posting this on behalf of a colleague. He is interested in reports of
experience, good or bad, with Power Translator Professional software for
translating German into English. It is made by Globalink of Fairfax,
Virginia.

Please reply direct to him: i.campbellhist.canterbury.ac.nz.
Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy
Department of Linguistics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone +64-3-364 2211; home phone +64-3-355 5108
Fax +64-3-364 2065
e-mail a.c-mccling.canterbury.ac.nz
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Message 2: Query: 'because' versus 'since/as'

Date: Thu, 03 Aug 1995 09:21:46 Query: 'because' versus 'since/as'
From: <Carsten.Breulrz.ruhr-uni-bochum.de>
Subject: Query: 'because' versus 'since/as'

My research on English causal clauses seems to support the following
claims about the distinction between 'because' and 'since/as', which
I would very much like to have judged and commented on especially
by native speakers of English.

Consider the sentence

(1) John Richman, Jr has been admitted to Belford College without
taking an examination because his schoolwork was so outstanding.

I claim: The use of 'because' in (1) implies that Richman's
outstanding schoolwork has motivated the College's management to
admit him without a formal examination. This decision was not a
necessary act entailed by the College's statutes. The decision could
have been different. It would also have been possible that Richman's
admission had never been taken into consideration in the first
place. A possible reaction to (1) could be: 'Is that really true?
Wasn't it rather because the father has so much money and
influence?' I.e., a possible objection could be based on the
assumption that the because-clause does not tell the real
motivation.

In contrast, the use of 'since' or 'as' instead of 'because' in (1)
would change the interpretive implications of (1) in the following
way: A rule or norm exists about the admission of students to the
College, a rule or norm which may be part of the College's statutes
or which is informally valid (tacitly or outspokenly) among those
responsible for the admission. This rule or norm says that a pupil
with outstanding schoolwork has to be admitted to the College even
without a formal examination. The relation between Richman's
schoolwork and his admission is of the kind that the former
necessarily entails the latter. Strictly speaking, the admission was
not motivated by Richman's outstanding schoolwork but is necessarily
following from it. A possible reaction to (1) (with 'since' or 'as'
instead of 'because') could be: 'Why's that? Is it usual at Belford
College to admit all pupils with outstanding schoolwork?'. I.e., an
objection could be raised against the implication that a rule or
norm as mentioned above actually exists. Finally, the use of 'since'
or 'as' instead of 'because' in (1) also allows the following
interpretation: The main/matrix-clause does not represent a
situation the factuality of which has been attested independently of
the causal clause but represents a situation the factuality of which
has been inferred from the situation in the causal clause.

Carsten Breul
e-mail: carsten.breulrz.ruhr-uni-bochum.de
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