Superfluous negation in modern Hebrew and its origins

Aynat Rubinstein, Ivy Sichel, Avigail Tsirkin-Sadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we survey a variety of constructions in contemporary Modern Hebrew that include seemingly superfluous instances of negation. These include free relatives, exclamative rhetorical questions, clausal complements of 'until,' 'without,' and 'before,' clausal complements of 'fear'-type verbs, after negated 'surprise,' and the complement of 'almost' (a construction by now obsolete). We identify possible sources for these constructions in pre-modern varieties of Hebrew. When an earlier source cannot be found, we examine earliest attestations of the constructions in modern-era corpora and consider the role of contact (primarily with Yiddish and Slavic) in their development.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Jewish Languages
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Expletive negation
  • Language contact
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Negation
  • Superfluous negation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language


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