Component-dependent allomorphy and paradigm accessibility: evidence from Hebrew

Lior Laks, Evan Gary Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examines allomorphy in vowel selection in Hebrew. We address the formation of adjectives and passive verbs in a specific morphological pattern with stem-medial glottals. While the normative vowel that precedes the glottal is o, there are cases where it is colloquially u. We provide empirical evidence for this variation (or lack thereof), arguing that vowel selection results from the distinction between adjectives and passive verbs and, more generally, from the component of the grammar where they are derived, the lexicon and the syntax. Studies of Hebrew have shown that a has a more morphological-lexical status, as it is typical of word formation processes, while e has a phonological status as it is the default vowel in epenthesis. A previous study has also shown that a is more typical of the lexicon and e is more typical of the syntax. We propose a similar distinction between o and u; u tends to be selected in passive formation in the syntax, while o is selected for words stored in the lexicon. In addition, we claim that the occurrence of each allomorph is triggered by uniformity to other forms in different paradigms that are taken into account in word formation. The study provides further evidence to a new type of allomorphy, whose evidence for conditioning is not purely phonological or morpho-syntactic, but rather depends on the locus of word formation. It highlights the strong correlation between form, meaning and the relevant grammatical component in word formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-452
Number of pages28
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Adjectival/verbal passive
  • Glottals
  • Hebrew
  • Lexicon vs. syntax
  • Paradigm uniformity and leveling


Dive into the research topics of 'Component-dependent allomorphy and paradigm accessibility: evidence from Hebrew'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this