[BERMAN] Derivational Morphology in Hebrew

Derivational Morphology in Hebrew: Insights from Children’s Innovations

Ruth A. Berman

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Abstract: The study concerns lexical innovations by Hebrew-speaking children, focusing on derivational morphology as a means for new-word formation. The principle of transparency, in the sense of one-to-one form/meaning mapping, suggests that Hebrew-acquiring children will prefer to coin new words by linear concatenation, adding an external affix to a stem (as in established acvut ‘sadness’ versus écev for ‘sorrow’, or non-existent klavon for established klavlav ‘doggie’ from kélev ‘dog’). The paper aims to explain, on the basis of findings from innovative forms in spontaneous speech output and structured elicitations, why this is not in fact the case. The answer lies in the interplay between two major forces driving language acquisition and development in general: shared age-related developmental trends and language-specific typological factors, combined with the effect of
input frequency in the ambient language. This study is dedicated in affection and regard to Outi Bat-El,
whom I first met as a student of mine at Tel Aviv University, in an undergraduate proseminar on phonology. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to acknowledge Outi’s unique contribution to the domain, in Israeli as in general linguistics, where she has branched out from phonological theory to language acquisition and disorders. She is a model of an involved and caring colleague, supervisor, and teacher.

Berman, Ruth A. 2022. “Derivational Morphology in Hebrew: Insights from Children’s Innovations”. Radical: A Journal of Phonology, 4, 359-419.