Old School Script

For the many thousands who are interested, both Part 1 and Part 2 of an article I co-authored with Alex Andrason have been published by JNSL and are available for download. In this two-parter we take a look at the Biblical Hebrew lexeme בלי and explore its fascinating grammatical evolution.

Although only appearing 59 times in the Hebrew Bible, we get glimpses of multiple stages of its grammatical life: beginning as a noun and ending as a verbal negator, with preposition, semi-conjunction, conjunction, and negative affix in between. It really is remarkable that such a full story of grammaticalization could be told in such a sparse number of occurrences. But the data doesn’t lie (and we try not to.). 😉

w3e7rA final closing comment concerns the label we use to describe this vast array of potential uses of בלי. Instead of referring to this potential as polysemy, we use…

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