Prepositional predicates with nominalized subjects in classical Hebrew

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The paper characterizes the PP-nominal (prepositional phrase + nominalization) pattern in Biblical Hebrew and Rabbinic Hebrew (e.g., ʽalenu laʽsot 'it is our duty to do') and discusses its relation to the so-called evaluative or chagam pattern (e.g., tov lanu ʽavod 'it would have been better for us to serve'). In spite of the resemblance between the two, it is argued that the former is a distinct pattern both historically and typologically, but that both share similar generalizations within predicate-initial sentence patterns. Historically, the PP-nominal sentences are a unique case of prepositional phrase predicate sentences with simple noun phrase subjects, having fixed word order and nominalized subjects. Typologically, they are essentially marked for person. Changes in the PP-nominal pattern in Rabbinic Hebrew suggest that it grew closer to the evaluative pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalHebrew Studies
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Cultural Studies


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