Scope and Gender in Hebrew Generic Second Person

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Generic second person may be partially or totally generic. In Hebrew, a highly gendered language, the scope of masculine and feminine generic 2SG may be either total or limited to the given gender. The borders between personal, limited generic and total generic use are often fuzzy. I discuss these complex interrelations between scope, gender and interchangeability of generic and personal 2SG in a corpus of journalistic interviews, focusing on issues such as simulated interlocutor, inner dialogue, shifted viewpoint, and dramatic simulation. Opaque switch points from personal to generic are found to characterize typical environments, including after directives or questions. Gender switch reflects viewpoint shifts. Scope ambiguity and interchangeability, even within a single utterance, enhance the pragmatic effect of generic 2SG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage and Communication
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Dramatic simulation
  • Generic 2 ‘you’
  • Inner dialogue
  • Scope ambiguity
  • Shifted viewpoint
  • Simulated interlocutor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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