Reassessing the third person pronominal “copula” in spoken Israeli Hebrew

Leon Shor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper reassesses the widespread claim in Hebrew linguistics that the medial third person pronoun in the “subject NP + pronoun + predicate” construction in Israeli Hebrew functions either as copula, or as a referential subject in an extrapositional sentence. Based on the examination of this construction in Hebrew conversation, as represented in The Corpus of Spoken Israeli Hebrew (CoSIH), and based on theoretical considerations, the paper argues that the distinction between copular and referential uses of medial third person pronouns is not justified, leading to the conclusion that apparent “copular” third person pronouns are in fact a second realization of the subject referent, and that sentences containing such pronouns are better viewed as cases of subject doubling. This paper positions subject doubling in the context of typology and language acquisition, and argues for the need to analyze it using natural data, focusing on speaker- and listener-oriented motivations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1807-1837
Number of pages31
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Copula
  • Left dislocation
  • Subject doubling
  • Third person pronoun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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