From multi-clausality to discourse markerhood: The Hebrew ma she- ‘what that’ construction in pseudo-cleft-like structures

Yael Maschler, Stav Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores all Hebrew clauses opening with ma she- ‘what that’ in what traditionally have been considered pseudo-clefts in an 11-hour audio-recorded corpus of ordinary spoken discourse. Employing interactional linguistic methodology we argue that, rather than being viewed as the initial part of a bi-clausal complex-syntax structure, the ma she- clause is better perceived on a continuum of syntactic integratedness. The less syntactically integrated varieties have become sedimented as projecting constructions for specific interactional purposes: framing upcoming discourse as an action, event, or rephrasal, or displaying a stance concerning the content of the upcoming utterance. In its most crystallized form, the ma she- clause has become sedimented as a full-fledged prototypical discourse marker projecting a stance that contrasts with the stance taken in the preceding stretch of talk. Syntax and lexicon are shown to be intimately interrelated in this sedimentation of the ma she- projecting construction.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)73-97
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume159
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Clause-combining
  • Grammaticization of discourse markers
  • Projecting constructions
  • Pseudo-clefts
  • Spoken Hebrew syntax
  • Stance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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