'Ak and Raq: Limiting and Countering

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Hebrew Studies Journal, 52
pages 83-105
Principles from Relevance Theory are used to distinguish the function of the Ancient Hebrew limiters 'ak and raq. Raq always constrains a countering interpretation on the material that it introduces. In other words, its presence indicates that an existing assumption is to be countered or eliminated. In contrast, the constraint on interpretation imposed by 'ak is simply that of limitation, without countering overtones (an effect often conveyed by English 'just'). Consequently, when introducing a countering proposition, 'ak does not emphasise the contrast, as others have claimed. Rather, it limits or minimises the contrast, often with the effect of strengthening another assumption.
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Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. The Problem 3. Raq and 'Ak when Governing a Non-Initial Constituent 4. Initial Raq and 'Ak when the Clause Begins with a Verb 5. Initial Raq and 'Ak in Verbal Clauses that Begin with a Non-Verbal Constituent 6. Raq and 'Ak when Initial in a Nominal Clause 7. Final Thoughts
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