Specific Exceptions Driving Variation: The Role of Orthography in Modern Hebrew Spirantization

Michal Temkin Martinez, Ivana Müllner


This paper reports results from a production experiment examining the patterns of variation in the morphophonemic alternations present in spirantization in Modern Hebrew, a phenomenon to which there are many exceptions and diverse levels of variation. Real and nonce verbs were used to elicit variation in a sentence completion task as a follow-up to a perception experiment (Temkin Martínez 2010) which found gradient levels of acceptability in variation due to the presence of exceptionality. The diverse patterns of variation indicate that not all exceptions affect the same level of variation in alternation. Results of the current study suggest that levels of gradience are linked to the presence or absence of multiple orthographic representations for each of the segments involved. An Optimality Theoretic (OT) account modifying a combined model of set-indexation (Pater 2000) and Stochastic OT (Boersma 1998; Boersma & Hayes 2001; Hayes & Londe 2006; Hayes & MacEachern 1998; Zuraw 2000) presented in Temkin Martínez (2010) is provided to account for the alternation patterns in nonce verbs.


Modern Hebrew; Optimality Theory; Stochastic OT; Set-indexation; spirantization; orthography; variation; gradience

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/amp.v3i0.3695

Copyright (c) 2016 Michal Temkin Martinez, Ivana Müllner

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/