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Diminutive Reduplication in Modern Hebrew

Kreitman, Rina

In this paper I explore diminutive reduplication in Modern Hebrew (MH) using an Optimality Theoretic (McCarthy & Prince 1995) framework, which has the advantage of allowing interaction of phonological and morphological constraints regulating the reduplication process.

I claim that reduplication in MH stems from general principles of reduplication interacting with principles of fixed prosody. A bisyllabic template with prespecified vocalic material determines the shape of the diminutive form. The bisyllabic template is motivated through constraint interaction on word size. The infixed reduplicant is responsible for reduplicating the last syllable of the input, example: gezer ‘carrot’ → gzarzar ‘baby carrot’.

Trisyllabic output forms: lavan ‘white’ → levanvan ‘whitish’, superficially, do not seem to conform to the bisyllabic template. These arise from phonological constraints on wellformedness of onset clusters. I also account for forms that remain faithful to the input vowel like xazir→ xazarzir. Reduplication can be regarded as a case of affixation, specifically infixation, even in non-concatenative languages.

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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