The present investigation centers on the development of Hebrew written discourse syntax, focusing on prepositional phrases (PPs) as a specific syntactic construction. Specifically, we examined prepositional phrases that function as manner adverbials (e.g., Be-itiyut, “in-slowness = slowly”) across development. We analyzed 160 narrative and expository texts produced by eighty writers from pre-adolescence to adulthood. Analysis focused on the effects of age and genre on the prevalence of manner PPs, the complexity of their internal structures, and their different syntactic functions. Additionally, we examined the discourse-specific uses of manner PPs in each developmental stage and in each genre. Results showed that (1) manner PPs grow more prevalent and more internally complex with age and schooling; (2) most manner PPs modify verbs, but some function as noun modifiers, adjective modifiers, and predicates; and (3) many manner PPs do not constitute optional adjuncts, but rather function as obligatory, focal elements of clauses. The use of such focal manner PPs and of their optional counterparts is discussed in terms of choices that writers make to achieve certain rhetorical goals in discourse. The study contributes to our understanding of the development of Hebrew written discourse syntax, and sheds new light on the nature of manner PPs and their uses in discourse.
|Title of host publication||The Usage-Based Study of Language Learning and Multilingualism|
|Publisher||Georgetown University Press|
|Number of pages||19|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2016|