This study explores all Hebrew clauses opening with ma she- ‘what that’ in what traditionally have been considered pseudo-clefts in an 11-hour audio-recorded corpus of ordinary spoken discourse. Employing interactional linguistic methodology we argue that, rather than being viewed as the initial part of a bi-clausal complex-syntax structure, the ma she- clause is better perceived on a continuum of syntactic integratedness. The less syntactically integrated varieties have become sedimented as projecting constructions for specific interactional purposes: framing upcoming discourse as an action, event, or rephrasal, or displaying a stance concerning the content of the upcoming utterance. In its most crystallized form, the ma she- clause has become sedimented as a full-fledged prototypical discourse marker projecting a stance that contrasts with the stance taken in the preceding stretch of talk. Syntax and lexicon are shown to be intimately interrelated in this sedimentation of the ma she- projecting construction.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Yael Maschler is Professor of General and Hebrew Linguistics. Specializing in Discourse and Grammar and in Interactional Linguistics, her research explores the crystallization of grammatical structure from interaction. She is the author of Metalanguage in interaction: Hebrew discourse markers (2009, John Benjamins) and numerous articles. Her most recent (co)-edited collection is Emergent Syntax for Conversation: Clausal patterns and the organization of action (Maschler, Pekarek Doehler, Keevallik and Lindström (2020, John Benjamins). She is currently principal investigator of the project “The emergent grammar of clause-combining from a cross-linguistic perspective - a contribution to pragmatic typology” funded by the Israel Science Foundation.
Yael Maschler would like to acknowledge grants #887/12 and #1233/16 from the Israel Science Foundation , as well as a Visiting Professorship at the Finnish Center of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian, and Scandinavian Studies, University of Helsinki during April–May 2019, which have all enabled completion of this study.
Previous versions of this study were presented at the Fourteenth International Pragmatics Association (IPrA) conference, Antwerp; at the Emergence of Modern Hebrew Research Group, Mandel Scholion Interdisciplinary Research Center in the Humanities and Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; at the second Usage-Based Linguistics (UBL) conference, Tel Aviv University; at the Finnish Center of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction, University of Helsinki; and at the Complexity of (inter)action Research Community Colloquium (COACT), University of Oulu, Finland. We thank the participants at all these events for their comments and the reviewers of the Journal of Pragmatics for their useful suggestions. The study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, grants no. 887/12 and 1233/16 to Yael Maschler.Yael Maschler would like to acknowledge grants #887/12 and #1233/16 from the Israel Science Foundation, as well as a Visiting Professorship at the Finnish Center of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian, and Scandinavian Studies, University of Helsinki during April?May 2019, which have all enabled completion of this study.
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.
- Grammaticization of discourse markers
- Projecting constructions
- Spoken Hebrew syntax
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Artificial Intelligence