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Enabling and allowing in Hebrew

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Abstract

Three-Argument Dative constructions in Hebrew include two sub constructions, each with a specific form-meaning correlation, a specific usage pattern, and a particular discursive context. Syntactically, the two sub-constructions differ in that the THEME argument can be either (i) a noun phrase, or (ii) an infinitival predicate. In particular, the verb natan ‘give’ represents a prototypical construal in both sub-constructions. That is, with a NP THEME argument the verb natan ‘give’ has its literal meaning. With an infinitival THEME argument, however, the verb has the meaning of ‘allow, enable.’ Analyzing corpus data of the Infinitival complement Construction (ii), I account for these uses of the verb natan ‘give’ in a Usage-Based Construction Grammar perspective (Bybee, 2010). Utilizing the exploratory statistics techniques of Multidimensional Scaling (Borg and Groenen, 2005), Multiple Correspondence Analysis (Greenacre, 2010), and Hierarchical Classification on Principal Components (Husson et al., 2011) on corpus data, I show that multiple factors play a role in structuring an Argument Structure Construction. Furthermore, based on the bottom-up statistical analysis I argue that the verb’s morphological paradigm is one of the main cues for interpreting the relevant event frame and Dative participant roles in Hebrew.

References

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