A Construction Grammar Account of Anaphora in Biblical Hebrew

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Construction Grammar (CG) is a metatheoretical term that refers to a number of related grammatical theories, all of which posit form-meaning pairs (i.e. constructions) larger than morphemes and words. CGs trace their origins to Fillmore’s Case Grammar, developed further by Chafe, Kay and Lakoff, in conversation with Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar. Goldberg’s 1995 monograph, Construction Grammar, sparked a much broader awareness of CGs. CG theories have continued to develop through the work of linguists such as Croft, Fried, Lambrecht, Michaelis, Östman, Talmy, and Tomasello. CGs claim that constructions operate in an inter-related network, which together account for the grammar of a language. The central assertions of CGs are that constructions are:

•grounded in human cognition and social interaction,
•integrative of all levels of grammatical analysis (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, lexicon),
•central to language description,
• formalizable,
•comprehensive (namely, able to describe all language features),
•motivated (and thus not ad hoc), and
•non-derivational (and so not requiring transformations and movements).

CGs hence claim to be both descriptively and explanatorily adequate and fulsome. Analysis of anaphora in CG tends to favour the discourse-pragmatic analysis over the textual-syntactic approach typical of formal analyses, and this paper will do likewise. In such an approach, “the occurrence of an anaphor together with the clause in which it occurs as a whole consitututes a signal to continue the focus of attention establised… at the point of use” (Francis Cornish). Accordingly, a discourse-pragmatic CG account of anaphoric pronouns in Biblical Hebrew will be proposed, incorporating the results of the work of David Kummerow, given his functionalist approach.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAnnual Meeting of the Society-of-Biblical-Literature -
Duration: 01 Jan 2011 → …


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Society-of-Biblical-Literature
Period01/01/11 → …


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