The impact of contact languages on the grammaticalization of the Modern Hebrew superlative

Yael Reshef*

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Modern Hebrew grammatical constructions include a tripartite paradigm of degree comparison consisting of the positive adjective, the comparative, and the superlative. Such a paradigm did not exist in classical Hebrew, and the expression of the superlative in both Biblical Hebrew and Rabbinic Hebrew required reference to a comparison class by means of a noun. Based on an examination of textual evidence from the initial phases of the formation of Modern Hebrew, this article traces the emergence of the modern superlative constructions and evaluates the role of contact languages in the process.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationLanguage Contact and the Development of Modern Hebrew
EditorsEdit Doron
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789004302006
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in Semitic Languages and Linguistics
ISSN (Print)0081-8461

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 6.


  • Adjective degree comparison
  • Grammaticalization
  • Language contact
  • Revival of Hebrew
  • Superlative


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