Chapter published in:Usage-Based Studies in Modern Hebrew: Background, Morpho-lexicon, and Syntax
Edited by Ruth A. Berman
[Studies in Language Companion Series 210] 2020
► pp. 131–143
Notes on Modern Hebrew phonology and orthography
This brief survey chapter starts by characterizing the phonemic inventory of consonants and vowels in Modern Hebrew (MH). It then notes departures from earlier stages of the language, such as the full or partial merger of historical “emphatic” stops with plain stops, the loss of pharyngeal and glottal phonemes (“gutturals’), degemination, and the loss of active phonological rules, such as vowel lengthening and reduction, which together account for the much reduced inventory of both consonants and vowels in all present-day usage, including “Mizrahi” and more generally used pronunciations. Selected phonotactic features of MH phonology – syllable structure, CV alternations, consonant clusters, stress, and word length – are touched on. A final section deals with the essentially conservative Hebrew orthography, as compared with the dynamics of its phonology.
Published online: 18 March 2020
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