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Yihud Sentences and Their Contribution to Information Structure in Modern Hebrew

From: Hebrew Studies
Volume 54, 2013
pp. 223-242 | 10.1353/hbr.2013.0025



This paper offers an empirical examination of yihud sentences in contemporary Hebrew literature. A corpus chosen to reflect contemporary Hebrew prose was examined for yihud sentences, and the structures found were classified under two main models: simple yihud sentences and stressed yihud sentences. Yihud sentences are used in contemporary Hebrew prose to mark the discourse topic using syntactic focalization by means of extraposition. The authors use the yihud clause, that is, the extraposition topic, to mark the discourse topic in its limited sense (the dialogue subject), and the extraposition comment to mark the discourse topic in its broader sense (the dialogue topic). The main textual function of simple yihud sentences in contemporary Hebrew prose is to change the discourse topic, while that of stressed yihud sentences is to change the discourse topic and at the same time to express conflict or contradiction. Due to their textual function of changing the discourse topic, yihud sentences disrupt the flow of the sentences and do not allow the linear connectivity that is characteristic of the discourse in contemporary Hebrew prose.

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