Oral language traditions and classical Hebrew: Phonological and morphological phenomena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Hebrew component of Judeo-languages constitutes an important dimension in the historical study of the Hebrew language. It testifies to two, ostensibly conflicting, processes. On the one hand, the incorporation of Hebrew words into the spoken, non-Jewish, language creates neologisms; on the other, this component preserves traditions from earlier strata of postbiblical Hebrew. Based on manuscripts attesting to Mishnaic Hebrew, ethnic oral traditions, and other trustworthy witnesses, the latter phenomenon is examined through the prism of Tunisian Judeo-Arabic. In the realm of phonology, I note the preservation in Judeo-Tunisian of a penultimate stress characteristic of earlier Hebrew strata. Also treated here are the realization of the consonant waw as v alongside the vocalic realization of w, and the geminate resh. In the sphere of morphology, I cite examples from two categories witnessing earlier Hebrew traditions: plurals in the form -iyot (such as yeshiviyot), and pausal forms such as se'uda mafsaqet. Other forms attested in earlier traditions include: hcombining dot belowomesh, kummar, afiqomen, and gehinnam, and the phrases 'esercombining dot below ∂d-d∂bbrcombining dot belowot and thcombining dot belowayat ∂m-mitim as well as the Aramaic words 'arubba and ma'al.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalRevue des Etudes Juives
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Oral language traditions and classical Hebrew: Phonological and morphological phenomena'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this