The Lowest Common Denominator as a Factor in the Formation of Modern Hebrew Phonology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Spoken Hebrew was revived in speech some 140 years ago. Basic classical Hebrew vocabulary and grammatical structures were retained in their language because Jews had always used Hebrew for liturgical purposes and as a means of communicating between disparate communities. However, the mother tongues used by Jews from different communities and their societal status affected their pronunciation. The phonological structure of Modern Hebrew reflects the lowest common denominator of the language traditions of these early speakers. Some biblical phonemes disappeared from use, allophones turned into phonemes, consonant clusters deviated from the classical language, and loan consonants and unexpected stress patterns entered the phonological system.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Intricacy of Languages
Editors Francesc Feliu, Olga Fullana
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9789027261946
ISBN (Print)9789027204424
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameIVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature


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