The Development of the Origin Sense of the Preposition מִן in Biblical Hebrew

Liza Lemmer


The origin sense of the preposition מִן in Biblical Hebrew has been treated in various ways by traditional grammars and lexica. The discrepancy between the entries for מִן in these sources indicates that a systematic and theoretically justifiable account of the nature of this sense was lacking. In this paper the Principled Polysemy Approach (Tyler and Evans 2013) was employed to analyse the origin sense (as defined) by investigating whether 1) it should be viewed as a distinct sense and 2) how is it related to the primary sense and the other senses of the preposition. The conclusion is reached that the origin sense is a distinct sense of the preposition and that it is related to the primary sense, which contains the semantic elements of locational source and separation, in a principled way.


preposition מִן in Biblical Hebrew; Principled Polysemy Approach,

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


Achard, M and Niemeier, S (eds) 2004. Cognitive linguistics, second language acquisition and foreign language teaching. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Barr, J. 1992. Hebrew lexicography: informal thoughts, in Bodine 1992:137-151.

Bodine, W R (ed.) 1992. Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.

Brown, F, Driver S R and Briggs C A. 1907. A Hebrew and English lexicon of the Old Testament: with an appendix containing the biblical Aramaic. Oxford: Clarendon.

Brown, E K (ed.) 2006. Encyclopedia of language and linguistics. 2nd ed. Boston: Elsevier.

Clines, D J A (ed.) 2001. The dictionary of Classical Hebrew. Volume 5. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Cuyckens, H and Zawada, B E. 2001. Introduction, in Cuyckens and Zawada 2001: ix–xxvii.

Cuyckens, H and Zawada, B (eds) 2001. Polysemy in cognitive linguistics: selected papers from the fifth international cognitive linguistics conference Amsterdam, 1997. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

De Blois, R. 2000. Towards a new dictionary of Biblical Hebrew: based on semantic domains. Available: [Accessed 2017/06/09.]

De Blois, R. 2000–. Semantic dictionary of Biblical Hebrew.

De Regt, L. 1997. Multiple meaning and semantic domains in some Biblical Hebrew lexicographical projects: the description of zera’, Zeitschrift für Althebraistik, 10/1:63–75.

Elliger, K and Rudolph, W (eds) 1997. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

Evans, V and Green, M. 2006. Cognitive linguistics: an introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Fromkin, V and Rodman, R. 1993. An introduction to language. 5th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jonanovich.

Gesenius, H F W and Tregelles, S P. 1857. Genenius's Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament scriptures. London: Samuel Bagster.

Joüon, P and Muraoka, T. 2006. A grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Rome: Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico.

Koehler, L and Baumgartner, W. 1995. The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament. Volume 2. Leiden: Brill.

Langacker, R W. 1987. Foundations of cognitive grammar. Volume I: theoretical prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Lee, Y S. 2016. Description of the BH lexeme אֶל : a cognitive approach. Unpublished master’s dissertation: Stellenbosch University.

Lemmer, L. 2014. The polysemic nature of the preposition מִן in Biblical Hebrew: a study in the book of Judges. Unpublished master’s dissertation: North-West University.

Lyle, K A. 2012. A cognitive semantic assessment of עִם and אֵת ’s semantic potential. Unpublished master’s dissertation: Stellenbosch University.

Mena, A K. 2012. The demantic potential of עַל in Genesis, Psalms, and Chronicles. Unpublished master’s dissertation: Stellenbosch University.

Nerlich, B and Clarke, D D .1997. Polysemy: patterns of meaning and patterns in history, Historiograhia Liguistica 24/3:349–385.

Radden, G and Dirven, R. 2007. Cognitive English grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Rodriguez, D. 2011. תחת : A cognitive linguistic analysis of the Biblical Hebrew lexeme. Unpublished master’s dissertation: University of Stellenbosch.

Scanlin, H P. 1992. The study of semantics in general linguistics, in Bodine 1992:125–136.

Tawil, H. 2005. The semantic range of the Biblical Hebrew HLL: lexicographical note X, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 117/1:91–94.

Tyler, A and Evans, V. 2001. Reconsidering prepositional polysemy networks: the case of over, Language, 77/4:724–765.

Tyler, A and Evans, V. 2003. The semantics of English prepositions: spatial scenes, embodied meaning, and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tyler, A and Evans, V. 2004. Applying cognitive linguistics to pedagogical grammar: the case of over, in Achard and Niemeier 2004:257–281.

Van der Merwe, C H J, Naudé, J A and Kroeze, J H. 1999. Biblical Hebrew reference grammar. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Waltke, B K and O’Connor, M P. 1990. An introduction to Biblical Hebrew syntax. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.

Zlatev, J. 2006. Semantics of spatial expressions, in Brown 2006:173–180.



  • There are currently no refbacks.