On Root Infinitives in Child Hebrew

Jeannette Schaeffer, Dorit Ben Shalom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This squib attempts to make two contributions to the study of Root Infinitives (RIs) in child language. The first contribution is to show that Hebrew-acquiring children older than the age of 2 do not show an extensive use of RIs, whereas before age 2, they do produce a fairly robust number of RIs. This phenomenon resembles the production of RIs in early Russian but differs from the typical RI languages such as early Dutch, German, French, and the Scandinavian languages, which show productive use of RIs until at least age 3. Our second goal is to shed some light on the theoretical underpinnings of these similarities and differences. We collected language samples of 15 monolingual Hebrew-speaking children. Taking into account that the children who did not produce any RIs might be simply beyond the RI stage and in order to stack the cards against our own prediction, we report the number of RIs only for the children whose transcripts contained at least one RI. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)83-96
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Childhood Development
  • Language
  • Language Development
  • Monolingualism
  • Verbs


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