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What is a verb? : Linguistic, psycholinguistic and developmental perspectives on verbs in Germanic and Semitic languages

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Verbs constitute one of the basic building blocks of a clause, setting the structure of arguments and expressing the relationships among nouns in various thematic roles. In general terms, verbs are lexical items expressing verb-oriented notions such as activities, processes, and states. In morphology-rich languages, the syntactic and lexical roles of verbs are mediated by typologically-oriented morphological means. The current Special Issue contrasts the structure and functions of verbs in languages from two morphologically rich, yet typologically different families. The articles in the Special Issue present spoken and written aspects of verbs in usage and development in German (a Germanic language) on the one hand, in Hebrew, Neo-Aramaic, and Arabic (Semitic languages), on the other. From a theoretical linguistic perspective, we ask how the different typological features of these languages affect the function of verbs in sentences, and from a psycholinguistic perspective, we ask how typological differences affect the processing of verbs in the mature minds of adults and in the developing minds of children.

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Keywords: Hebrew morphology; growth potential; morphological priming; network analysis; peer talk; prefixed verbs in German; preschool; semantic priming; socio-economic status (SES); verb lexicon

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2019

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