LINGUIST List 6.419

Wed 22 Mar 1995

Sum: Expletive negation in modern Hebrew

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Message 1: summary: expletive negation in modern Hebrew

Date: Mon, 20 Mar 95 10:09:18 ESsummary: expletive negation in modern Hebrew
From: <3914LARPVM1.ULAVAL.CA>
Subject: summary: expletive negation in modern Hebrew

 On february 27, I posted a querry on expletive negation in
modern Hebrew. I want to thank Ariel Cohen
(ariel_cohenriga.mt.cs.cmu.edu), Michael Ephratt
(rhlh702uvm.haifa.ac.il), Bob Fradkin
(raf100foduvm.cc.odu.edu), Laurence Horn
(lhornyalevm.cis.yale.edu), Paul Rowlett (p.a.rowlettmod-
lang.salford.ac.uk) and Lucia Tovena (tovenalatl.unige.ch) for
their comments.
 My querry originated from Michael Moore's comment to the
effect that in Modern Hebrew, the sentence negation of
subordinate clauses dominated by before, until and i'm afraid can
be interpreted referentially or expletively. According to Ariel
Cohen, only until contexts allow an expletive negation. Bob
Fradkin mentionned that expletive negation in MH seemed less
frequent than in French. While it seems that expletive negation
in MH has a narrower domain of use than in French, there might
also be a question of style involved here; while expletive
negation is an aknowledged grammatical feature of formal style in
French, it might be a non-standard feature of MH. This is
suggested to me by the fact that neither Glinert 1989 suggested
by Michael Ephratt nor Rosen 1977 even mention expletive negation
in MH.
 Lucia Tovena pointed me to her 1994 paper in Geneva
Generative papers about Italian, Hungarian and Hindi expletive
negation in until contexts. For a typological overview of
expletive negation, one can consult Horn 1978, which shows the
typological extension of the phenomenon.
 Now, i'm still left with a few unanswered questions. I'm
surprised that there apparently doesn't exist any study on the
topic in MH. I wonder whether I should be looking in the
direction of Ancient Hebrew. A question of more general interest
is how to deal with divergent distributions of a phenomenon
across languages; in other words, how should the fact that
expletive negation exists in comparative and fearing contexts in
a large number of languages but not in MH?? Could matters of
style, as suggested above, explain this??
 Thanks for those who responded and for those who will.

-Glinert, L., 1989, The Grammar of Modern Hebrew, Cambridge UP.
-Horn, L., 1978, Some Aspects of Negation, J. Greenberg,
Universals of Human Language, vol. 4, Standford UP, 127-210.
-Moore, M., 1992, Double Negation, Et Cetera, 304-309.
-Rosen, 1977, Contemporary Hebrew.

Pierre Larrivee
Departement de langues et linguistique, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada,
G1K 7P4
3914larpvm1.ulaval.ca
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