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The Nature and Diachrony of Hebrew Quality Pseudo-Partitives: Are They a Calque from the Contact Languages?

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The article discusses the syntactic, semantic, prosodic, and sociolinguistic features of the contemporary Hebrew construction of the type ‘a beauty of a girl,’ in general N 1of N 2, known as quality pseudo-partitive(also as binominal noun-phrase). In this construction, N 1is a nominalized adjective and N 2is the head. Semantically the syntagm is evaluative, either positively or negatively. The article examines the claim that the construction, first documented in 1928, emerged as an internally caused change, and concludes from the evidence that the construction was calqued from contact languages (English, French, German, Yiddish, and Judeo-Spanish).

Affiliations: 1: Zefat Academic College Zefat Israel


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