What is new in the NP-strategy for expressing reciprocity in modern Hebrew and what are its origins?

Elitzur A. Bar-Asher Siegal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay focuses on various aspects of the NP-strategies for expressing reciprocity in Modern Hebrew and inquires about their origin. It attempts to determine the exact type of relationship that exists between the contemporary constructions and their equivalents in older periods. It describes a situation in which Modern Hebrew added a new NP-construction to express reciprocity, due to a calque of a construction existing in Indo-European languages. This is an interesting example of the way Modern Hebrew grows richer by incorporating external influence. The new construction did not replace the older one, an inheritance from Mishnaic Hebrew. Instead, it provided a means to distinguish between registers. Despite the semantic and the syntactic resemblance between the new and the old constructions, they remained independent, and they differ in their sociolinguistic distribution, grammatical properties, and semantic nuances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-258
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Jewish Languages
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* I wish to thank Nora Boneh, Edit Doron, and Yael Reshef for reading and commenting on an early version of this article. This work is supported by European Union grant irg 030-2227. Since the point of the Modern Hebrew examples in the article is to show the schematic distribution of the reciprocity elements, I am using very simple uncontroversial examples that I have constructed on the basis of my capabilities as a native Modern Hebrew speaker.

Publisher Copyright:
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2015.


  • Calque
  • Mishnaic Hebrew
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Reciprocal constructions

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Languages in contact
  • Hebrew language, Modern
  • Hebrew language -- Reciprocals


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