Roots and patterns in Hebrew language development: Evidence from written morphological analogies

Dorit Ravid*, Rachel Schiff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Morphology is one of the organizing principles of the mental lexicon. It is especially important in Hebrew, where word structure expresses a rich array of semantic notions. This study investigated the ability of Hebrew-speaking children to solve written morphological analogies by reading and completing two sets of real and invented root- and pattern-related nouns using a closed set of responses. In the first experiment, 152 gradeschoolers (2nd-6th grade) were administered an analogy task with real words, where they had to read written stimuli and elicit root and pattern components from them. In the second experiment, 148 gradeschoolers were administered a similar reading task with pseudowords. In both experiments, the results clearly indicate an early and robust ability of Hebrew-speaking children to perform morphological analogies using both roots and patterns. Most errors involved the root morpheme rather than the pattern morpheme, but pseudowords elicited more pattern errors. These results are discussed in view of models of morphological processing and morpho-lexical development in Hebrew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-818
Number of pages30
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Analogy
  • Development
  • Hebrew
  • Morphology
  • Reading
  • Root and pattern


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