Inconsistencies in spoken language: Examples from Hebrew

Esther Borochovsky Bar-Aba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper displays examples of inconsistencies in spontaneous speech. It refers to cases in which the speaker changes his manner of expression while speaking, even though there generally seems to be no objective reason for doing so. I demonstrate the phenomenon in the use of verb tense, of person inflection, of singular/plural form, and of direct/indirect speech. I suggest that these phenomena be viewed as cases in which the speaker tries (not necessarily consciously) to make his speech less monotonous and more attractive to the listener by providing various ways of expression differing mainly in the degree of closeness they convey between the reported event and the addressee.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008


  • Direct/indirect speech
  • Inconsistencies
  • Person inflection
  • Singular/plural form
  • Spontaneous speech
  • Verb tense


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