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Hebrew verbal passives in Later Language Development: the interface of register and verb morphology*

  • DORIT RAVID (a1) and LIZZY VERED (a1)

The current study examined the production of Hebrew verbal passives across adolescence as mediated by linguistic register and verb morphology. Participants aged eight to sixteen years and a group of adults were asked to change written active-voice sentences into corresponding passive-voice forms, divided by verb register (neutral and high), binyan pattern (Qal / Nif'al, Hif'il / Huf'al, and Pi'el / Pu'al), and verb tense (past and future tense). Results showed that Hebrew passive morphology is a very late acquisition, almost a decade later than in other languages, that passivizing neutral-register verbs was less challenging than high-register verbs, and that past tense verbs were easier to passivize than future tense verbs. An order of acquisition was determined among the three binyan pairs. The paper provides an account of these findings grounded in the event-telling role of Hebrew passives in discourse and the spurt of abstract, lexically specific vocabulary in Later Language Development.

Corresponding author
[*]Address for correspondence: Dorit Ravid, Tel Aviv University – School of Education, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel. e-mail:
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Journal of Child Language
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