Phonological effects on word order: AB constructions in Hebrew


  • Noa Handelsman Tel Aviv University
  • Outi Bat-El Tel Aviv University



binomials, fixed word order, phonology–semantics interaction, weighted constraints, Hebrew


The literature on what we call AB constructions (freezes, irreversible binomials), such as odds and ends and copy paste, attributes the fixed word order to both phonological and non-phonological, mostly semantic constraints. However, some researchers attribute a prominent role to phonology, while others view semantics as the major contributor to word order of AB constructions. In this paper we evaluate the role of phonology in Hebrew AB constructions with reference to a harmonic grammar with weighted constraints, where constraint weight is calculated on the basis of its effect in our corpus. The grammar reveals that semantic constraints weigh more than phonological constraints in both the cumulative weight and the average weight. Nevertheless, phonology affects a great number of data items, in particular those where semantic constraints are mute. We thus conclude that although syntax and semantics are responsible for word order, phonology determines word order when the other modules do not have a say.  

Table 7 from Handelsman and Bat-El




How to Cite

Handelsman, N., & Bat-El, O. (2022). Phonological effects on word order: AB constructions in Hebrew. Phonological Data and Analysis, 4(2), 1–21.