The insubordinate - subordinate continuum: Prosody, embodied action, and the emergence of Hebrew complex syntax

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the continuum stretching between Hebrew syntactically integrated and unintegrated ('insubordinate') she-'that/which/who'-clauses produced following final/continuing intonation contours in naturally-occurring interaction. Leaving aside modal insubordinate she-clauses, I show that in all of these cases she- ties back to an immediately prior stretch of interaction - verbal and/or embodied - and projects an elaboration or evaluation of it, without much concern about which particular type of complex construction - relative, complement, or adverbial (if any) - is being created. The data suggest that rather than viewing insubordinate clauses as imperfect realizations of the canonical 'subordinate' variety resulting from the disintegration of complex syntactic patterns, canonical, syntactically integrated varieties of Hebrew relative, complement, and adverbial clauses may be regarded as grammaticizations from syntactically less integrated varieties.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmergent Syntax for Conversation. Clausal patterns and the organization of action
EditorsYael Maschler, Simona Pekarek Doehler, Jan Lindstrom, Leelo Keevallik
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages39
ISBN (Electronic)9789027261939
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Language and Social Interaction
ISSN (Print)1879-3983

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1. I thank Jan Lindström, Simona Pekarek Doehler, Paul Hopper, Sandy Thompson, and Betty Couper-Kuhlen for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this chapter. This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, grants no. 887/12 and 1233/16 to Yael Maschler.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Benjamins Publishing Company


  • Grammaticization
  • Hebrew
  • Insubordination
  • Prosody
  • Subordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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