The emergence of the unmarked: Vowel harmony in hebrew loanword adaptation

Evan Gary Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, it is argued that adult speakers of all languages have a universal predisposition to use vowel harmony, even when there is no evidence of productive harmony in the native lexicon. Evidence for this harmony may emerge in the lexicon's periphery (e.g. loanwords). We investigate harmony in loanwords in Modern Hebrew, a language not considered to be a vowel harmony language, focusing on the universal aspects of vowel harmony. Different grammars operate on different areas of the lexicon, loanwords vs. native words, and the differences between the grammars are formally described within an Optimality Theoretical approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Hebrew
  • Loanwords
  • Universality
  • Vowel harmony


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