[Lingtyp] Duplicate preposition

Mira Ariel mariel at tauex.tau.ac.il
Fri May 6 04:44:19 UTC 2022

Dear friends,

I'm working on a Hebrew construction which means 'between X and Y', but its original shape (which survives to this day) is more interesting:

Bein                                         Xlocative              u-vein*                        Ylocative
Among/within/between          X                     and-among/within/between    Y

*vein is a phonetic variant of bein

I think its syntactic and semantic analysis is: Bein (X u-vein Y) = Between (X and-between Y), where the 2nd bein token is a mere duplicate of the first one, rather than [('Between' X) 'and' ('between' Y)].

I suspect the reduplication is there to block an interpretation of 'X and Y' as a single region combining both places, since bein could at the time (biblical Hebrew) be interpreted as 'among/within', rather than as 'between 2 specific landmarks' (e.g., bein harim 'among hills').

Note that while this repeated preposition case bears some resemblance to choosing: I gave a book to Mary and to John instead of I gave a book to Mary and John in that the speaker wishes to block an interpretation of John and Mary as a single unit, it is also different, because each of Mary and John (separately) fall under the scope of 'gave a book to' - I gave a book to Mary, and I gave a book to John (2 events). This is NOT the case with the Hebrew construction, where the 'between' sense of bein requires both complements, referring to the space between them. Cf. ?? Between X and between Y doesn't make sense (if the second between is not taken as a mere duplicate).

Can people point me to literature on similar constructions, where one of the prepositions or conjunctions is "superfluous"? The closest I can think of is: Either X or Y, but even here there's a higher conjunctive counterpart 'Possibly X and possibly Y', which we know is indeed the source of quite a few or constructions.


Mira (Ariel)

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