LINGUIST List 16.999

Sat Apr 02 2005

Sum: Expressions Similar to Hebrew 'bixlal'

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        1.    Hagit Migron, Expressions Similar to Hebrew 'bixlal'

Message 1: Expressions Similar to Hebrew 'bixlal'

Date: 01-Apr-2005
From: Hagit Migron <>
Subject: Expressions Similar to Hebrew 'bixlal'

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Regarding query:

Dear linguists,

Several weeks ago I requested data on lexical items that are similar to Hebrew
'bixlal'in their range of meanings. I got very many helpful responses, which are
summarized below.

'Bixlal' has the following five meanings (See original posting for a more
detailed presentation):
A) 'At all': hu lo nexmad bixlal (He is not nice at all)
B) 'in general': hu bixlal nexmad (He is nice in general)
C) 'even': hu bixlal xaver shelxa? (Is he even your friend?)
D) 'anyway': ma ata roce bixlal? (What do you want, anyway?)
E) 'actually': ze lo shulxan, ze bixlal kise (It's not a table, it's actually a

According to the responses I recieved, the following languages have lexical
items similar to 'bixlal':

Russian: 'voobshche' Meanings A, B, C, D, E
Polish: 'w ogole' Meanings A, B, C, D, E
Slovene: 'sploh' Meanings A, B, C, D, E
Serbian: 'oupste' Meanings A, B, C, D
Czech: 'vubec' Meanings A, B, C, D
German: 'überhaupt' Meanings A, B, C, D, E
Hungarian: 'egyaltalan' Meanings A, B, C, D

Japanese: mattaku Meanings A, B
Dutch: helemaal Meanings A, B
Irish English: at all Meanings A, B
(This combination of readings (A+B) is commonly produced by items meaning
'totally/completely' which can take either wide or narrow scope with respect to
negation, to produce readings like 'completely true' vs. 'completely
untrue'='not true at all')

Additional items mentioned were Yiddish 'bixlal', Itlian 'mica', Swedish
'överhuvudtaget', Danish 'overhovedet' and Norwegian 'overhodet'.

I wish to thank all the people who responded:
Hana Skoumalova, Stefan Dyla, Fay Wouk, Yuri Koryakov, Ora Matushansky, Asya
Pereltsvaig, Thorsten Schröter, Konrad Szczesniak, Tamas Biro, Sarah Bunin
Benor, Donka Torov,Annabel Harrison,Agnes Sandor, Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Caren
Brinckmann, Wayne Leman, Laurence Horn, Remy Viredaz, Kim Schulte, Hana
Skoumalova, Ella Earp-Lynch, Galina Gordishevsky, Timur Maisak, Piusten Hacken,
Hyoungbae Lee, Susanne Riehemann, Olga Kagan.

I will be happy to recieve any additions / corrections, and any other
information on words that combine a ''universal-like'' and ''existential-like''
meaning (except 'any' and its correlates). My e-mail:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
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