Speaking to one's heart: דבר and its semantic extension

Natalie Mylonas, Stephen Llewelyn, Gareth Wearne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive linguists are increasingly recognising the value of metonymy for understanding the way language works. This article applies recent advancements in the theory of metonymy to the Hebrew noun דבר in order to explain its broad semantic range. It argues that metonymy and its function in the processes of grammaticalization account for the majority of lexical senses listed for דבר. It also aids in the translation of this polysemous noun by highlighting some contextual features of speech that help determine the meaning of דבר in any given sentence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Hebrew scriptures
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • metonymy
  • Hebrew Bible
  • davar
  • word


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