The meaning and development of the Hebrew scalar modifier kexol

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is twofold; first, it aims to explore the variety of interpretations of the partially schematic Hebrew construction kexol as in kexol she’ratsiti (‘as much as I wanted’) within the framework of construction grammar; second, it aims to account for this variety through a demonstration of the interrelation between the grammaticalization of the construction and the process of (inter)subjectification or speech-act orientation. The analysis will show that this interrelation has resulted in considerable internal variation in meaning and function in the present day. Corpus findings reveal that initially kexol functioned as a compound consisting of a preposition and a universal quantifier to denote a relation of similarity and comparison. As a result of speaker orientation, the construction has come to exhibit a higher degree of grammaticality in its function as a scalar modifier. Additional schematic and procedural meanings which developed later seem to be the result of hearer-orientation and discourse-orientation tendencies all subsumed under the cover term speech-act orientation

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