Skip to main content

Raising, inversion and agreement in modern Hebrew 1


This paper focuses on the interaction between raising, subject–verb inversion and agreement in Modern Hebrew. It identifies, alongside ‘standard’ (i.e., English-like) subject-to-subject raising, two additional patterns where the embedded subject appears post-verbally. In one, the raising predicate exhibits long-distance agreement with the embedded subject, while in the other, a colloquial variant, it is marked with impersonal (3sm) agreement. The choice between the three raising constructions in the language is shown to be solely dependent on properties of the embedded clause. The data are discussed and analyzed against a background of typological and theoretical work on raising. The analysis, cast in the framework of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), builds on research on raising, selectional locality, agreement, subjecthood and information structure, as well as verb-initial constructions in Modern Hebrew.

Corresponding author
Author’s address: The Open University of Israel, Department of Literature, Language and the Arts, Raanana, 4353701, Israel
Hide All
Alexiadou Artemis & Anagnostopoulou Elena. 1999. Raising without infinitives and the nature of agreement. In Haugen Jason D., Bird Sonya, Carnie Andrew & Norquest Peter (eds.), West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 18), 1426. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Alexiadou Artemis, Anagnostopoulou Elena, Iordachioaia Gianina & Marchis Mihaela. 2012. In support of long distance agree. In Müller Gereon, Alexiadou Artemis & Kiss Tibor (eds.), Local modeling of non-local dependencies, 5581. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Baroni Marco, Bernardini Silvia, Ferraresi Adriano & Zanchetta Eros. 2009. The WaCky wide web: A collection of very large linguistically processed web-crawled corpora. Language Resources and Evaluation 43.3, 209226;
Bender Emily M. 2008. Radical non-configurationality without shuffle operators: An analysis of Wambaya. In Müller Stefan (ed.), 15th International Conference on HPSG, 624. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications;
Bender Emily & Flickinger Dan. 1999. Peripheral constructions and core phenomena: Agreement in tag questions. In Webelhuth Gert, Koenig Jean-Pierre & Kathol Andreas (eds.), Lexical and constructional aspects of linguistic explanation, 199214. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Berman Ruth A. 1980. The case of an (S)VO language: Subjectless constructions in Modern Hebrew. Language 56.4, 759776.
Borsley Robert D. 1995. On some similarities and differences between Welsh and Syrian Arabic. Linguistics 33, 99122.
Butt Miriam. 2014. Control vs. complex predication: Identifying non-finite complements. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 32, 165190.
Chomsky Noam. 2000. Minimalist inquiries: The framework. In Michaels David, Martin Roger, Uriagereka Juan & Keyser Samuel Jay (eds.), Step by step: Essays on minimalist syntax in honor of Howard Lasnik, 89155. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Davies William D. & Dubinsky Stanley. 2004. The grammar of raising and control: A course in syntactic argumentation. Oxford: Blackwell.
Ginzburg Jonathan & Sag Ivan A.. 2000. Interrogative investigations: The form, meaning, and use of English interrogatives. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Haddad Youssef A. 2012. Raising in Standard Arabic: Forward, backward, and none. In Bassiouney Reem & Katz E. Graham (eds.), Arabic language and linguistics, 6178. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Hazout Ilan. 1994. The Hebrew pronoun ze and the syntax of sentential subjects. Lingua 93.4, 265282.
Jacobson Pauline. 1990. Raising as function composition. Linguistics and Philosophy 13.4, 423476.
Kathol Andreas. 1999. Agreement and the syntax–morphology interface in HPSG. In Levine Robert & Green Georgia (eds.), Studies in contemporary phrase structure grammar, 223274. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Keenan Edward L. 1976. Towards a universal definition of ‘subject’. In Li Charles N. (ed.), Subject and topic, 303333. New York: Academic Press, Inc.
Kiss Tibor. 1994. Obligatory coherence: The structure of German modal verb constructions. In Nerbonne et al. (eds.), 71107. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Kiss Tibor. 1995. Infinite komplementation. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.
Lambrecht Knud. 2000. When subjects behave like objects: An analysis of the merging of S and O in sentence-focus constructions. Studies in Language 24.3, 611682.
Landau Idan. 2011. Predication vs. aboutness in copy raising. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 29.3, 779813.
Manning Chris & Sag Ivan A.. 1998. Argument structure, valence, and binding. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 21, 107144.
Maschler Yael. 2004. The Haifa Corpus of Spoken Israeli Hebrew.
Melnik Nurit. 2002. Verb-initial constructions in Modern Hebrew. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Berkeley.
Melnik Nurit. 2006. A constructional approach to verb-initial constructions in Modern Hebrew. Cognitive Linguistics 17.2, 153198.
Melnik Nurit. 2014. Language change in spoken Hebrew: Existence and possession. Hebrew Linguistics: A Journal for Hebrew Descriptive, Computational and Applied Linguistics[in Hebrew].
Meurers Walt Detmar. 1999. Raising spirits (and assigning them case). Groninger Arbeiten zur Germanistischen Linguistik (GAGL) 43, 173226;
Müller Stefan. 2008. Depictive secondary predicates in German and English. In Schroeder Christoph, Hentschel Gerd & Boeder Winfried (eds.), Secondary predicates in Eastern European languages and beyond (Studia Slavica Oldenburgensia 16), 255273. Oldenburg: BIS-Verlag;∼stefan/Pub/depiktiv-2006.html.
Müller Stefan. 2009. On predication. 16th International Conference on HPSG, 213233. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications;∼stefan/Pub/predication-hpsg.html.
Nerbonne John, Netter Klaus & Pollard Carl J. (eds.). 1994. German in head-driven phrase structure grammar. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Perlmutter David M. 1970. The two verbs begin. In Jacobs Roderick A. & Rosenbaum Peter S. (eds.), Readings in English transformational grammar, 107119. Waltham, MA: Blaisdell.
Polinsky Maria. 2013. Raising and control. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Polinsky Maria & Potsdam Eric. 2006. Expanding the scope of control and raising. Syntax 9.2, 171192.
Polinsky Maria & Potsdam Eric. 2012. Backward raising. Syntax 15.1, 75108.
Pollard Carl J. 1994. Toward a unified account of passive in German. In Nerbonne et al. (eds.), 273296. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Pollard Carl J. 1996. On head non-movement. In Bunt Harry C. & van Horck Arthur (eds.), Discontinuous constituency, 279305. Berlin/New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter. Published version of a Ms. dated January 1990.
Pollard Carl J. & Sag Ivan A.. 1994. Head-driven phrase structure grammar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Postal Paul. 1974. On raising. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Rizzi Luigi. 1982. Issues in Italian syntax, vol. 11. Dordrecht: Foris Publications.
Rosenbaum Peter. 1967. The grammar of English predicate complement constructions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Sag Ivan A. 2007. Remarks on locality. In Müller Stefan (ed.), The 14th International Conference on HPSG. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Sag Ivan A. 2010. Feature geometry and predictions of locality. In Corbett Greville & Kibort Anna (eds.), Proceedings of the workshop on features, 236271. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Sag Ivan A. 2012. Sign-based construction grammar: An informal synopsis. In Boas Hans & Sag Ivan A. (eds.), Sign-based construction grammar. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Sag Ivan A., Wasow Thomas & Bender Emily M.. 2003. Syntactic theory: A formal introduction, 2nd edn. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Shlonsky Ur. 1987. Null and displaced subjects. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Shlonsky Ur & Doron Edit. 1992. Verb second in Hebrew. In Bates Dawn (ed.), 10th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 10), 431446.
Szabolcsi Anna. 2009. Overt nominative subjects in infinitival complements cross-linguistically: Data, diagnostics, and preliminary analyses. In Irwin Patricia & Maldonado Violeta Vázquez Rojas (eds.), NYU working papers in linguistics, vol. 2: Papers in syntax. New York, NY: New York University.
Zubizarreta Maria Luisa. 1982. On the relationship of the lexicon to syntax. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0022-2267
  • EISSN: 1469-7742
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 98 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 240 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.