Complementation in linear and dialogic syntax: The case of Hebrew divergently aligned discourse

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This study investigates the interaction between linear and dialogic syntax in Hebrew conversation. Analyzing resonance in divergently aligned contexts, we examine a particular dialogic modification of complex syntactic constructions: the embedding of one construction within the scope of another. Specifically, we examine a family of constructions which, in the terms of linear syntax, are analyzed as forms of complementation (via the complementizer še- 'that', via a question word, or via the conditional conjunction 'im 'if'). However, the dialogic alignment of these forms with their preceding utterances reflects a complex picture, in which some patterns are still definable by linear syntax, but others are not accounted for by these traditional terms. Rather, the application of the Dialogic Syntax framework calls into question defining such constructions from a purely structural perspective and supports a more fluid, Emergent Grammar approach. Moreover, we illustrate how dialogic actions in fact motivate the interaction-based grammaticization of new constructions, culminating, in the case of the constructions examined here, in the emergence of discourse markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-557
Number of pages35
JournalCognitive Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: Yael Maschler and Bracha Nir contributed equally to this work. Bracha Nir’s research was supported by a Fulbright post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California at Santa Barbara, awarded by the United States-Israel Educational Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston 2014.


  • Hebrew conversation
  • complementation
  • dialogic syntax
  • discourse markers
  • divergent alignment
  • emergent grammar
  • linear syntax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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