Article published in:Current Issues in Generative Hebrew Linguistics
Edited by Sharon Armon-Lotem, Gabi Danon and Susan Rothstein
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 134] 2008
► pp. 353–388
Codifying apparent inconsistencies in discourse
The case of Hebrew ma
In this paper I examine the Modern Hebrew discourse marker ma the function of which is to help anchor new information into the discourse when it appears that the newly introduced material is inconsistent with information assumed to be already in the addressees knowledge store. I claim that ma is used to acknowledge and possibly rectify such incompatibilities at the service of coherence and consistency. I briefly discuss yet another discourse marker used to preserve coherence (staam), showing that it constitutes an instruction to the hearer to delete material from the discourse model in the face of a sharp contradiction between its content and information taken to be shared.
Published online: 19 December 2008