Typology, acquisition, and development

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This introductory chapter presents background on the typology, acquisition, and development of Israeli Hebrew in order to provide a shared frame of reference for readers’ perusal of the eleven chapters that follow. It starts by defining the overall goal of the volume, followed by an overview of prior research on acquisition of Hebrew since the 1980s. Salient features of the language are outlined in historical perspective, characterizing Modern Hebrew as a typologically mixed language, with consequences relevant to children’s acquisition of its phonology, orthography, morphology, and syntactic structure. Then follows a brief review of two key facets of the language that figure importantly in its acquisition and in various contributions of the present volume: the role of word-internal morphological structure and the uniquely Semitic features of consonantal roots, binyan verb patterns, and nominal mishkal patterns. The chapter concludes by summarizing the contents of the book, organized by different linguistic domains – phonology, morphology, syntax, discourse, and literacy – and covering periods of development from infancy to adolescence, based on varied sources of data and research methodologies and on distinct approaches to language and language acquisition.


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