From location to conjunction, disjunction, partition, exemplification and association: Hebrew bein constructions

Ruti Bardenstein*, Mira Ariel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analyzing the diachrony of Hebrew bein, originally a spatial preposition 'within/among', this article traces several grammaticization clines associated with bein's gradual evolution into a rich variety of functions within various constructions. While its early function is purely locative, bein later participates in an array of constructions and sub-constructions, where its syntactic status, its semantic meanings and functions, as well as its discourse role, have shifted considerably. Bein may thus be part of a conjunctive or a disjunctive construction, but it may also be part of an 'in any case' adverbial, and later an 'anyway' discourse marker. It conveys different locative construals ('within', 'among' and 'between'), but also various abstract symmetric relations, such as 'difference', 'dispute' and 'separation'. Some bein constructions partition a set, focusing on a subset of it, while in other cases bein serves as an 'all-purpose' preposition. Nevertheless, our goal is to show how each grammatical, semantic and discoursal phase is well motivated, given the previous phase. Based on written historical corpora, from Biblical to contemporary Hebrew, we provide a step-by-step diachronic development from earlier to later bein functions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLinguistics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation

    Keywords

    • conjunctions
    • constructions
    • disjunctions
    • grammaticization

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