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‘This silence doesn’t find favor in my eyes’

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Examination of the figurative construction [X find favor in Y’s eyes] ([X ffi Y]) in Biblical and Israeli Hebrew reveals semantic and pragmatic differences in its use. In Biblical Hebrew, the construction reflects an ancient cultural conceptualization (Sharifian 2011) of xen ‘favor’ in which it is associated with the eyes of God or humans of high social status. The distribution of [X ffi Y] in this language emphasizes social and cultural hierarchies based on this ancient conceptualization of favor. Although originating from Biblical Hebrew, the use of the construction in Israeli Hebrew does not reflect the ancient conceptualization of xen ‘favor’ that had motivated its emergence. The analysis shows the differences in meaning and pragmatic function of [X ffi Y] in the two language variants, with a focus on contexts of use and the social-cultural identity of participants. This study illustrates the involvement of cultural conceptualization and scenarios in linguistic expression.
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Keywords: Biblical Hebrew; Israeli Hebrew; constructions; cultural conceptualization; embodiment; favor; scenarios

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 17, 2017

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