Chapter published in:Usage-Based Studies in Modern Hebrew: Background, Morpho-lexicon, and Syntax
Edited by Ruth A. Berman
[Studies in Language Companion Series 210] 2020
► pp. 375–418
The chapter details structural and usage-based properties of three types of verb shifts to nouns in MH: Action Nominals. Gerunds, and Infinitives. It starts by specifying morphological and syntactic criteria for these three constructions as nominalizations: They are fully productive grammatical systems; directly associated with verb binyan patterns; and alternate syntactically with their verbal source-forms, so often paraphrasable by tensed subordinate clauses. These criteria mean that several other classes of verb-related nouns are excluded from discussion, including: adjective-based stative nominals, nouns derived by syntactic conversion from benoni ‘intermediate’ participial cum present–tense verbs, and other classes of verb-derived nouns denoting Disease, Collective, Location, etc. The chapter characterizes (i) abstract Action Nominals, i.e., šmot^ peula ‘names:cs action’ = nouns/names of an action, activity, act’ (e.g., from the b1verb haras ‘destroy’, harisa ‘destruction, destroying’ ~ héres ‘destruction’) and two constructions both termed šem^ póal ‘name:cs verb = the noun/name of a verb’ in the form of (ii) Gerunds (e.g., be-hors-o ‘in-destroying-his = on his destroying [something]’) and (iii) Infinitives (e.g., la-haros ‘to-destroy’). The relatively recent Action Nominals are highly productive, although largely confined to more formal registers of usage, classical Gerunds are restricted to syntactically bound constructions and are relatively rare in current usage, while Infinitives are pervasive at all levels of usage, displaying a broad range of functions in the absence of other, less widely occurrent, non-finite verbs. The chapter concludes by comparing the three constructions analyzed in relation to more general features of MH structure and use.
Published online: 18 March 2020
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