Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper


By drawing upon sentences elicited from native Yiddish speakers and excerpts from Yiddish texts, I examine functions performed by aleyn ('alone') and relate them to semantic properties of its pre-grammaticalized components, 'all' + 'one'. Relying upon the cognitive processes of metaphor and metonymy, in accordance with Hopper & Traugott 1993 and others I explain how aleyn has come to perform a contrastive function, in conjunction with Grice's (1975) quantity-based inference. Comparing the Yiddish facts to how such contrasts are drawn in Russian, Hebrew and German, I conclude that these languages did not contribute grammaticalization of aleyn in Yiddish.



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