The Hebrew dative: Usage patterns as discourse profile constructions

Elitzur Dattner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The dative in Hebrew poses a problem for a unified characterization as no single criterion seems to guides its interpretation. The present paper approaches this problem from a usage-based perspective, suggesting a multifactorial account of dative functions in Hebrew. Analyzing a corpus of Hebrew dative clauses with multivariate statistical tools I reveal the usage patterns associated with each dative function, showing that traditional descriptions of dative functions are not reflected in usage. Working within a Usage-Based perspective, in which the meaning of a word is its use in language, I argue that Hebrew has only four distinct dative usage patterns, termed Discourse Profile Constructions: conventional correspondences between a multifactorial usage pattern and a unified conceptualization of the world. The four Discourse Profile Constructions are: (i) the Extended Transitive Discourse Profile Construction, (ii) the Human Endpoint Discourse Profile Construction, (iii) the Extended Intransitive Discourse Profile Construction, and (iv), the Evaluative Reference point Discourse Profile Construction. By revealing such correspondences between usage patterns and conceptualizations, the present paper (i) broadens the Construction Grammar notion of Argument Structure Construction, and (ii), suggests an innovative account for the notion of usage as a factor in the conventional pairing between form and function.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2019.


  • Hebrew
  • argument structure constructions
  • dative
  • discourse profile construction
  • multivariate statistics
  • usage-based linguistics


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