Miri Bar Ziv Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regularization is a process of linguistic reduction through the elimination of variants. Regularization processes occur naturally during language acquisition and learning. In social situations where learners comprise a large portion of the language community, regularization can lead to linguistic change. This was the case during the development of Modern Hebrew. Therefore, regularization processes are essential to a fundamental question about the crystallization of Modern Hebrew: to what extent its grammar continues the grammar of the previous layers of Hebrew and to what extent it features novel characteristics of its own. This paper focuses on the crystallization of counterfactual conditionals in Modern Hebrew. It shows that this process involved no new linguistic phenomena but only a culling of the large inventory of variants. These variants that coexisted during the revival period were all inherited from the preceding stages of Hebrew. A regularization process, which occurred mainly in the Mandate period, eliminated some variants, such as the positive meaning of ilmale and the qatal (regular past-tense) form in the main clause (the consequence). The variants that survived the regularization process underwent differentiation, becoming associated with distinct registers or meanings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-402
Number of pages22
JournalHebrew Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Association of Professors of Hebrew. All rights reserved.


1. This paper is dedicated with deep gratitude to the late Prof. Edit Doron, who followed the research in its early stages. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's H2020 Framework Program (H2020/2014–2020) / ERC grant agreement n° 741360, Principal Investigator Edit Doron. My thanks go also to Prof. Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, Vera Agronovsky, Hagit Migron, and Ruth Stern for their insightful and helpful comments. I also thank my friends, fellow members of the EMODHEBREW group.

FundersFunder number
European Union's H2020 Framework ProgramH2020/2014–2020
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme741360
European Research Council


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