Bleaching of Verbs of Motion Introducing a Periphrastic Structure


  • Rama Manor
  • Pnina Trummer
  • Avi Gvura


bleaching of the verbs of motion, periphrastic structure, metaphorical shift, aspectual meaning


The paper deals with the bleaching of the verbs of motion yatsa', ba' and halakh when they introduce a periphrastic structure and are complemented with a verbal noun, as in yatsa' la-milhama ("went to war"), hotsi' la-horeg ("executed"), ba' be-ta'not ("complained"), hevi' hibuk (”hugged"), halakh le-ibud ("got lost"). The research corpus includes examples from dictionaries of contemporary Hebrew and from everyday online spoken discourse.

In the course of bleaching, the motion verb's meaning is eroded through the mediation of a metaphorical shift based on the metaphor of containment (Johnson, 1987). The motion verb loses specific semantic elements that express motion, and from a verb denoting a concrete locative-dynamic event it becomes a helping verb possessing an aspectual meaning of beginning or ending of an action. The paper also deals with the question of the difference between the meaning of a periphrastic structure that opens with a bleached verb of motion and the meaning of the corresponding lexical verb, for example tavi' hibuk vs. tehabek.