Vol. 7 (2021)
Articles

From polysemy to semantic change: remarks on the lexeme "miṣwà" in Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew

Published September 15, 2021
Keywords
  • Diachrony,
  • Mishnaic Hebrew,
  • Polysemy,
  • Semantics of Ancient Hebrew
How to Cite
Vergari, R. (2021). From polysemy to semantic change: remarks on the lexeme "miṣwà" in Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew. Quaderni Di Linguistica E Studi Orientali, 7, 233-262. https://doi.org/10.13128/qulso-2421-7220-12010

Abstract

The paper discusses the semantic shifts of the lexeme mi from Biblical Hebrew to Mishnaic Hebrew. This lexeme encodes some crucial notions of the Hebrew and Jewish value system, as those of commandment and duty. The linguistic data presented will offer a clear example of how the study of the late stratum of the biblical language can shed light on the diachronic semantic shift of the noun. Namely, Late Biblical Hebrew displays some significant semantic innovations, in the form of synchronic contextual variants, that will be fully developed in the post-biblical strata of the Hebrew language to the point of becoming the core meaning of the lexeme.

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