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On the Alleged Unipartite Relatives in Semitic

Na’ama Pat-El

Pages 279 - 288


In a recent paper, Cohen (2018) suggested that nominal sentences without overt
subjects are a regular and common part of Semitic grammar. More specifically, he
suggested that some arguments in Semitic relative clauses are gapped, namely are
missing on a regular basis. This, he argued, is especially common in relative
clauses where the predicate is a prepositional phrase. In the current paper, I
argue that relative clauses exhibit the same syntax as main clauses. I also
provide additional evidence from Syriac and Assyrian Akkadian that prepositional
phrases following a relative marker are phrasal, not clausal.


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19 Mor, U. /N. Pat-El 2016: “The Development of Predicates with Prepositional Subjects in Hebrew.” In: JSS 61/2, pp. 327-346.

20 Pat-El, N. / A. Treiger 2008: “On Adnominalization of Prepositional Phrases and Adverbs in Semitic.” In: ZDMG 158, pp. 265-283.

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25 Zewi, T 2012: “Prepositional Phrases as Subjects in Several Semitic Languages.” In: R. Hasselbach/N. Pat-El (eds.): Language and Nature: Papers Presented to John Huehnergard on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday. Chicago, pp. 465-476.


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