Gender Switch in Modern Hebrew

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


Modern Hebrew is the national language of the Jewish majority of the State of Israel and a second language for the Jews of the world. Gender is inherent, integral, and ubiquitous in the structure of Hebrew. All Hebrew nouns have grammatical gender; they are either masculine or feminine. Adjectives, verbs, pronouns, inflected prepositions, and other word classes show agreement with the gender of the noun. A particularly interesting aspect of what the author refers to with the interchangeable terms gender switch, gender reversal, and/or cross addressing in Israeli Hebrew is the following phenomenon: males will address close female friends, relatives, associates, and partners using masculine pronouns and verb morphology as a sign of affection, intimacy, and solidarity. Furthermore, close female friends, relatives, and associates will also refer to themselves and others, and address each other, using masculine forms in a similar manner. It should be clear that, structurally speaking, gender (biological and grammatical) is almost always present at all levels of word and utterance formation in Modern Hebrew. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender Across Languages
Subtitle of host publicationThe Linguistic Representation of Women and Men
EditorsMarlis Hellinger, Hadumod Bußmann
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)1588110826, 1588110834
StatePublished - 2001

Publication series

NameImpact, Studies in Language and Society


  • Femininity
  • Grammar
  • Linguistics
  • Masculinity
  • Language
  • Sociocultural Factors


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