This volume provides a new kind of contrastive analysis of two
unrelated languages -- English and Hebrew -- based on the semiotic
concepts of invariance, markedness and distinctive feature theory.
It concentrates on linguistic forms and constructions which are
remarkably different in each language despite the fact that they
share the same familiar classifications and labels. Tobin
demonstrates how and why traditional and modern syntactic
categories such as grammatical number; verb tense, aspect, mood and
voice; conditionals and interrogatives; etc., are not equivalent
across languages. It is argued that these so-called universal
concepts function differently in each language system because they
belong to distinct language-specific semantic domains which are
marked by different sets of semantic features. The data used in
this volume have been taken from a wide range of both spoken and
written discourse and texts reflecting people's actual use of
language presented in their relevant linguistic and situational
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