Verbal Predicate Fronting in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish

in Journal of Jewish Languages
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


This article discusses the development of verbal predicate fronting (“predicate cleft”) in Modern Hebrew by comparing its properties with those of analogous constructions in Classical Hebrew and Yiddish, a critical contact language. The evidence, largely syntactic, lends support for contact-induced change as a plausible source of verbal predicate fronting in the contemporary spoken variety.

Verbal Predicate Fronting in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish

in Journal of Jewish Languages



AbohEnoch O “When Verbal Predicates Go Fronting.” zas Papers in Linguistics 2006 46 21 48

CableSeth “The Remarkable Yiddish Pseudo-Infinitive: Evidence for Phases?” 2003 accessed March 1 2014 (Unpublished manuscript mit)

CableSeth “Predicate Clefts and Base-Generation: Evidence from Yiddish and Brazilian Portuguese” 2004 accessed March 1 2014 (Unpublished manuscript mit)

CozierFranz K “The Co-occurrence of Predicate Clefting and wh-Questions in Trinidad Dialectal English.” Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 2006 24 655 688

DavisLori JPrinceEllen F FarleyAnne MFarleyPeter TMcCulloughKarl-Eric “Yiddish Verb-Topicalization and the Notion ‘Lexical Integrity.’” Papers from the 22nd Regional Meeting Chicago Linguistic Society 1986 90 97

FrishmanDavid “be-yom ha-kipurim” 1881 accessed September 12 2014 [On the Day of Atonement] (in Hebrew)

GeseniusWilhelm KautzschEmil CowleyA. E. Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar 1910/1976 2nd English edition (1910) Oxford Oxford University Press 13th impression

HameiriAvigdor Beyn shiney ha-adam 1929 accessed September 12 2014 [Between the Teeth of Man] (in Hebrew)

HarbourDaniel “The Two Types of Predicate Clefts: Classical Hebrew and Beyond.” mit Working Papers in Linguistics 1999 34 159 175

HarbourDaniel “Against PersonP.” Syntax 2007 10 223 242

JoüonPaul MuraokaT. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew 1923/1996 Rome Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico Second reprint with corrections (1991)

KrohnNitza Reading Academic Hebrew: An Advanced Learner’s Handbook 2011 Leiden Brill

LandauIdan “Chain Resolution in Hebrew v(P)-Fronting” Syntax 2006 9 32 66

MapuAvraham Avahat tsiyon 1853 accessed September 12 2014 [The Love of Zion] (in Hebrew)

MarkYudl gramatik fun der yidisher klal-shprakh (A Grammar of Standard Yiddish) 1978 New York (in Yiddish) CYCO

PersicoTomer “lama ha-feminizm kol kax mesukan la-yahadut ha-ortodoksit” 2011 accessed September 17 2014 [“Why Feminism Is So Dangerous to Orthodox Judaism”] (in Hebrew)"

SpolskyBernard “The Return to Zion and Hebrew.” The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History 2014 Cambridge Cambridge University Press 249 268

WaletzkyJoshua HerzogMarvin I.Kirshenblatt-GimblettBarbaraMironDanWisseRuth “Topicalization in Yiddish.” The Field of Yiddish: Studies in Language Folklore and Literature 1980 vol. 4 Philadelphia Institute for the Study of Human Issues 237 315

ZivYael ConnollyJohn H.VismansRoel M.ButlerChristopher S.GatwardRichard A. “Infinitivals Initially: Theme/Topic/Focus” Discourse and Pragmatics in Functional Grammar 1997 Berlin Mouton de Gruyter 163 175


See Ziv (1997) for a more in-depth treatment of the discourse functions of the Modern Hebrew construction.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 19 19 13
Full Text Views 7 7 7
PDF Downloads 3 3 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0