Reconsidering the Emergence of Non-core Dative Constructions in Modern Hebrew

In: Journal of Jewish Languages
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  • 1 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

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This article critically scrutinizes the perceived view that the emergence of non-core dative constructions in Modern Hebrew is due to a Slavic-Yiddish influence. It studies the Biblical and Mishnaic sources, showing that these language strata contain highly similar constructions to the ones in Modern Hebrew. It additionally shows that parallel constructions existed in languages spoken in the Jewish communities at the time of the revival, revealing that this linguistic phenomenon is typologically widely attested. We therefore claim that this could be an example of an internalization of the old grammar in the new spoken language, enhanced by the fact that similar constructions are reflected in the non-Hebrew native languages of the revival era speakers. These speakers, at the same time, imported into their colloquial Hebrew a sub-type of non-core dative—the discursive dative—to which they could not have been exposed through the ancient written texts, since this type of dative construction occurs only in the spoken language.

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    See also Breuer 1987:132–134.

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