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לֹא and the Biblical Hebrew Negative Response

In: Vetus Testamentum
Author: Dong-Hyuk Kim1
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  • 1 Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
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Abstract

It is agreed that Biblical Hebrew (BH) does not have a word for “Yes!” and that the BH positive answer uses what linguists call the echo system. On the other hand, לֹא used independently as a negative answer is frequently understood as a negative answer particle (“No!”). Upon considering the evidence from BH and languages in general, the first half of this paper argues that לֹא used as such is a negative verbal clause, with the verbal part being omitted. The second half attempts to schematize various forms of the BH negative responses using לֹא.

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