Prepositional phrases as manner adverbials in the development of hebrew L1 text production

Gilad Brandes, Dorit Ravid

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


The present investigation centers on the development of Hebrew written discourse syntax, focusing on prepositional phrases (PPs) as a specific syntactic construction. Specifically, we examined prepositional phrases that function as manner adverbials (e.g., Be-itiyut, “in-slowness = slowly”) across development. We analyzed 160 narrative and expository texts produced by eighty writers from pre-adolescence to adulthood. Analysis focused on the effects of age and genre on the prevalence of manner PPs, the complexity of their internal structures, and their different syntactic functions. Additionally, we examined the discourse-specific uses of manner PPs in each developmental stage and in each genre. Results showed that (1) manner PPs grow more prevalent and more internally complex with age and schooling; (2) most manner PPs modify verbs, but some function as noun modifiers, adjective modifiers, and predicates; and (3) many manner PPs do not constitute optional adjuncts, but rather function as obligatory, focal elements of clauses. The use of such focal manner PPs and of their optional counterparts is discussed in terms of choices that writers make to achieve certain rhetorical goals in discourse. The study contributes to our understanding of the development of Hebrew written discourse syntax, and sheds new light on the nature of manner PPs and their uses in discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Usage-Based Study of Language Learning and Multilingualism
PublisherGeorgetown University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781626163256
ISBN (Print)9781626163249
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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