Modern-Hebrew lama-še Interrogatives and Their Judeo-Spanish Origins

In: Journal of Jewish Languages
Itamar Francez University of Chicago Chicago, il USA

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This article describes a Modern Hebrew interrogative construction, not found in earlier varieties of the language, in which a wh-word is followed by a clause headed by the complementizer še ‘that.’ When that clause contains negation, the resulting sentence has the illocutionary force of a suggestion, with the opposite polarity to that of the complementizer clause. In this case, negation fails to license negative concord and negative polarity items. The main properties of the construction are described, an analysis is sketched, and evidence is given indicating Judeo-Spanish as the probable source for the construction.

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