The Syntax of Existential Constructions

The Spoken Israeli Hebrew Perspective - Part II: Negative Existential Constructions and Non-Presentative Uses of Existential Constituents




Existential constructions, Clause structure, Spontaneous spoken language, Prosody, Israeli hebrew


This study, in two parts, endeavors a novel analysis of existential constructions, based on a different theoretical setting of clause structure, where the predicate is taken as a necessary and sufficient constituent of the clause. Leaning on this perception, the analyses of existential constructions developed here tries to overcome the discrepancy between form and (semantic and informational) meaning in Hebrew existential constructions. Part I of the study dealt with affirmative existential-presentative constructions, used to introduce referents into the discourse. Most of the constructions were analyzed as consisting of an existential constituent, viewed as a modal marker, and a pivot, regarded as the core component of the predicate domain. This analysis was shown to be valid for both the existential marker jeʃ and for its suppletive verbal forms, derived from √hjj ‘be’. Thus, presentative-existential sentences are formed as unipartite sentences, consisting of only a predicate domain. Part II deals with other existential constructions, including negative constructions; bipartite existential sentences; existential constituents as sole constituents in a sentence; existential constituents with clitic referential markers; and the use of the existential markers as interjections or discourse markers.


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Author Biography

Shlomo Izre'el, Tel-Aviv University

Professor Emeritus of Semitic Linguistics from the Tel Aviv University. 


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How to Cite

Izre’el S. The Syntax of Existential Constructions: The Spoken Israeli Hebrew Perspective - Part II: Negative Existential Constructions and Non-Presentative Uses of Existential Constituents. J. of Speech Sci. [Internet]. 2022 Jul. 1 [cited 2022 Dec. 2];11(00):e022002. Available from:




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