Pseudo-grammaticalization: The anatomy of "come" in Modern Hebrew pseudo-coordination constructions

Nora Boneh


The paper examines the pseudo-coordination construction featuring the verb come preceding a lexical verb in Modern Hebrew, and shows that this is a mono-clausal mono-eventive construction, which did not emerge via a process of grammaticalization. That is, there is no tightening of internal dependencies between parts of the construction (Haspelmath 2004), nor evidence of a lexical unit starting to assume grammatical functions (Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer 1991). I go on to argue that, in this particular construction, the verb come is a “lexical restructuring verb” (Wurmbrand 2004, 2014), whose lexical properties do not differ from those of ‘simple’ change-of-location uses of come in that both feature a deictic meaning component. Particular attention will be paid to what looks like the absence of a motion component, suggesting that even if simple come selects for a prepositional complement, it does not necessarily encode a motion component, and therefore the absence of the PP, in a complex verb construction is not tied to loss of motion, but merely to a change in the type of complement. The current account provides substance to claims stressing a metaphorical relation between the two occurrences of come, since it points to the close similarities in the lexical-pragmatic properties of this lexeme in its two environments of use, and locates the difference between them in the choice of complement that produces the effect of transfer from the location realm to a more abstract one characteristic of metaphoric meanings.


grammaticalization; lexical change; metaphor; pseudo-coordination constructions; lexical restructuring; deixis; come; Modern Hebrew

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