This paper characterizes Medieval Hebrew and Aramaic as literary languages and seeks to explain how a 'literary language' namely a language used mainly in literary contexts arises, while utilizing three types of research: comparative philological research, which compares different languages and texts in terms of their vocabulary and grammar; sociolinguistic research, which examines the social functions of language use; and psycholinguistic research, which (in this particular case) examines issues of language acquisition. The paper builds on philological studies of literary languages to explain how the grammar of these languages evolves. It assumes that the acquisition of such languages is similar to second-language acquisition, while taking into account that these languages are both acquired and used in a strictly literary context. The main argument of the paper is that literary languages should be studied the same way as other languages, because ultimately after making some adjustments motivated by their particular functions they are compatible with the standard models of second-language acquisition.
The biblical corpus features a number of verses in which interrogative pronouns appear in non-interrogative contexts. The same phenomenon is observed in many other languages and gives rise to the question known in the linguistic literature as “the interrogative-indefinite puzzle,” namely, what is the natural connection between the interrogative and indefinite functions. This paper seeks to explore how this question should be examined in the context of the Biblical Hebrew data. It will be argued that a consideration of typological observations can yield important insights into this question. Subsequently, it proposes a formal semantic analysis of the indefinite pronouns in question and shows how the proposed approach can help explain their distribution.
In the scholarship, the discussions of the semantics of Aramaic אלמלי/אלמלא אילולי/אילולא throughout the history of Hebrew have focused on the function of these expressions as sometimes simply marking the head of a counterfactual con
In the scholarship, the discussions of the semantics of Aramaic אלמלי/אלמלא אילולי/אילולא throughout the history of Hebrew have focused on the function of these expressions as sometimes simply marking the head of a counterfactual condition, but at other times denoting "if not." This paper is divided into two, separately published parts. The first part follows the tradition that the answer to this puzzle lies in historical changes and dialectal variations. The second part examines various alterations that occurred during the transmission of the texts in which these forms appear. This type of study has the ability to shed light on the semantic interpretations of these expressions and, at the same time, on the linguistic knowledge of those who transmitted these texts. Thus, this paper aims to contribute to the linguistic analysis of these expressions and to our understanding of the ways in which talmudic texts were transmitted, namely, the phenomena that could affect their content.