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Olga Kagan

The article is devoted to Hebrew predicate nominal sentences in which the lexical item ze fulfills a copula-like function. A hypothesis is put forward according to which the demonstrative ze has acquired its new function under the influence of Slavic contact languages.

On the Scalar Nature of Arabic Diminutives

The Case of the fuʿayl Template

Olga Kagan and Mostafa Qtit

This paper investigates the semantics of the Arabic diminutive (DIM) created with the use of the fuʿayl template. DIM may contribute a wide range of sub-meanings, including smallness in size, low quantity, low quality, spatial and temporal proximity, etc. We put forward a scalar analysis according to which DIM systematically maps an argument of the stem to a relatively low degree on a scale. In particular, this degree is lower than the standard of comparison, independently supplied either by the context or by the linguistic environment. The scale in question, we argue, is not lexicalized by DIM but rather contributed by the stem to which DIM applies. The contrast between the various sub-meanings of DIM is thus reduced mainly to the differences between the environments in which it appears.