A constructional approach to verb-initial constructions in Modern Hebrew

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In this paper I argue that previous analyses of a class of inverted sentences in Modern Hebrew capture frequent correlations, but not hard constraints. Those analyses, which I refer to as lexically-based, focus on the properties of the lexical items which make up the sentence. The alternative approach proposed here views the constructions in their entirety and considers them from a discourse-functional perspective. It is proposed that V1 is employed by Modern Hebrew as an information packaging device which encodes thetic judgments in distinction from unmarked categorical judgments. The association of V1 with thetic judgments explains the frequent correlations between V1 and the properties which are identified by the lexically-based approach as definitional. Thus, by incorporating information packaging notions such as thetic and categorical judgments into the grammar, one can achieve a deeper understanding of linguistic phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-198
Number of pages46
JournalCognitive Linguistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* An earlier version of this article has benefited from the invaluable feedback, assistance and support of Andreas Kathol and Paul Kay. The current version would not have made it this far without the help and encouragement of Shuly Wintner. This work was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (grant no. 136/01) and by The Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation Institute for Interdisciplinary Applica-tions of Computer Science. Contact address: Dept. of Computer Science, University of Haifa, 31905, Israel; Author’s e-mail address: 3nurit@eyron.com>.

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Categorical
  • Constructions
  • Information packaging
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Thetic


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