A Construction Grammar Perspective on Negation in Hebrew:

From: Hebrew Studies
Volume 58, 2017
pp. 297-313

National Association of Professors of Hebrew colophon
Abstract

Abstract:

The purpose of this article is to test the hypothesis that the Hebrew pattern (WH word+that+not) qualifies as a construction based on the assumptions of Construction Grammar. Pragmatic functions of negation have been discussed in the literature before but the significance of this pattern is that it displays characteristics of a construction: it consists of a large group of expressions with wide internal variation, a systematic internal structure, productivity, idiosyncrasy, and rule-governed behavior. To identify these characteristics, the article is based on several criteria suggested in the literature for the identification of a construction. Furthermore, the article analyzes the place of this construction in the network of constructions which represents the speaker's linguistic knowledge. This is achieved through a taxonomic hierarchy which demonstrates inheritance relations between the construction and other more general rules of language. The significance of adopting this view is that it allows us to view language as a network which consists of constructions of varying degrees of schematicity ranging from very general rules to specific and idiosyncratic ones which require a specialized knowledge of language. It further allows us to replace a view of language as consisting of central versus peripheral cases with one which renders all types a place of their own in the speaker's knowledge of language. The article concludes that based on the methodology suggested by construction grammar, the Hebrew construction can be regarded as a construction which functions to convey intensification and emphasis.


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