Differentiating dislocations, topicalisation, and extraposition in Biblical Hebrew: Evidence from negation

Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, Jacobus A. Naudé


Left dislocation, right dislocation, topicalisation, and extraposition involve a constituent in a non-canonical position at the edges of the sentence. In Biblical Hebrew, the differentiation of these four constructions is complicated by two additional constructions. At the left edge of the sentence is a construction that is like topicalisation in that it has no resumptive element within the sentence although it apparently occurs outside of the left boundary of the matrix sentence. At the right edge of the sentence, we identify for the first time a comparable construction of “heavy extraposition” which is like extraposition in that it has no resumptive element within the sentence although it apparently occurs outside of the right boundary of the matrix sentence.

In this article, we examine the evidence that negation provides for differentiating the syntactic features of the six constructions. We present the data for negation involving each of these constructions with attention to the scope of negation as sentential negation or constituent negation (Snyman and Naudé 2003, Naudé and Rendsburg 2013). In particular, we examine the implications of negation for delimiting and defining the constructions, especially left dislocation and topicalisation, which are shown to involve important asymmetrical features. The facts about negated sentences provide important evidence that the presence (or absence) of resumption is critical to differentiating left dislocation and topicalisation (contra Westbury 2014, 2016). Negation thus provides important positive information for the syntactic structures of these six constructions and provides a crucial foundation for differentiating their functions with respect to information structure.


Biblical Hebrew; edge constructions; negation; topicalisation; left dislocation; extraposition; right dislocation; syntax

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5842/56-0-832


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help