Development of Hebrew derivational morphology from preschool to adolescence

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Three main devices construct the content-word lexicon of Hebrew: (1) nonlinear affixation of root and pattern (e.g., adjective matok ‘sweet’ from the root m-t-q and pattern CaCoC);† (2) linear concatenation of stem plus suffix (the abstract noun metik-ut ‘sweet-ness’); and (3) reduplication (the adjective metaktak ‘sweetish’ with the reduplicative template C1eC2aC3C2aC3). The chapter delineates the emergence and consolidation of Hebrew derivational morphology from early childhood to adolescence, based on experimental and corpus-anchored studies targeting prototypical exemplars of these three devices. Findings reveal nonlinear formation as the basic, earliest-acquired structure of Hebrew content words. Linear concatenation emerges as a later device, adding more specific and semantically fine-grained lexical items. Reduplication, as a relatively marginal and less obligatory device, is mastered last. The picture that emerges situates morphology as a major typological factor organizing the lexicon and underlying word learning in Hebrew.


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