Revisiting impersonal constructions in Modern Hebrew

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The study focuses on three impersonal constructions in Modern Hebrew: subjectless sentences with 3rd person plural main verbs, subjectless sentences with modal operators that take a complement clause, and sentences with generic pronoun subjects. Structural and semantic analyses elaborate on earlier studies in a discourse-embedded functional perspective based on authentic adult-child conversational interchanges and extended texts elicited from schoolchildren, adolescents, and adults in Hebrew and other languages. These serve to demonstrate the effects of such usage-based factors as genre, age-schooling development, as well as target language typology. The study concludes by arguing for a confluence of structural devices that combine to form a cline of impersonalization in the expression of a more or less depersonalized discourse stance. Keywords: discourse; genre; Hebrew; impersonals; language development; subjectless


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