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The šif’el binyan in Israeli Hebrew: Fiction or reality?


By: Nurit Dekel

The verb system of Hebrew has been addressed in numerous publications over the years, most of them are diachronic studies, others are edited as textbooks, presenting a more traditional treatment. The descriptions of Hebrew verb system in the literature refer to all Hebrew layers, the main ones being Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew.

The ones which claim to deal with Modern Hebrew suggest that the Hebrew verb system consists of seven verb patterns and some additional, minor ones, one of which is the šif’el pattern, which is discussed here. Modern Hebrew is referred to as Israeli Hebrew herein. The current study was performed on the basis of comprehension questionnaires. It was aimed at investigating the šif’el pattern in Israeli Hebrew. The results show that the šif’el pattern is not productive in Israeli Hebrew, and suggest that marking its forms as an independent pattern is redundant.

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